Males suffering sex harassment by other men

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Shanghai Daily, February 19, 2011
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Young males in Shanghai suffer more sexual harassment than females, and more often than not from other males, according to a survey of 2,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24.

The Shanghai Research Institute of Family Planning interviewed 1,100 university students, both male and female, and 900 unmarried women. The men in the survey reported various levels of harassment from being spied on and having their pictures taken to being physically touched while in restrooms or changing rooms.

Some 7.9 percent of male students, compared with 6.6 percent of female respondents, said they had encountered such sexual harassment. The report noted that of the males who said they had been physically touched, most said it had been mostly by other males, accounting for more than half of the incidents reported.

The females in the survey reported same-sex harassment in just 2.2 percent of all cases. More than 50 percent of the 2,000 people who took part in the survey also said they had been unwilling recipients of pornographic information via text messages, phone calls and the Internet.

The research team described this as "sexual harassment via communication." Leader of the research, Lou Chaohua, expressed her concern that the sexual harassment problem for young males had been long ignored and there were no laws to protect them if they were sexually assaulted by other people.

Luo said the reason that young males had more sexual harassment experience was probably because of China's traditional social attitudes toward the two genders, as people may show their concern when women were sexually assaulted but they could be quite indifferent when the victims were male.

"Even the men who have been sexually harassed by others via physical contact would not treat the problems seriously themselves," said Luo. "They may become indifferent to the issue just like others." Luo said the research team had not figured out exactly why the male victims reported most harassment by people of the same sex.

A possible answer could be that male friends would treat each other in ways involving physical contact, such as pushing and pulling, which could easily lead to some unnecessary embarrassing situations. She said the team would further investigate the topic, and more details would be issued to the public in May or June.

Wang Zhan, a lawyer, said the current lack of regulations to protect men from sexual harassment was due to the absence of an official definition of "sexual harassment," making it difficult for male victims to prove they had been harassed. At present only female rape is recognized in Chinese law, which fails to protect men from homosexual rape.

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