10 Honest Men Reveal Whether They Think Groping Equals Sexual Harassment

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do men think groping is sexual harassment

With men all over the news lately being held accountable for their treatment of women — be it groping, sexual assault, cat-calling, or harassment — it starts to feel like it's just the way all men are.

Do guys just not respect women? Or do they think the way they treat us is acceptable? Do men think groping is sexual harassment? Or do they think it's acceptable behavior?

We want to believe the guys in our lives are different, so we asked them whether or not they think what guys are doing is okay. And thank goodness for us, the answer appears to be a resounding "no." However, there seem to be a few men who just don't get it.

Here's where the others weighed in.

1. Some guys just don't get it.

"After my divorce, a girlfriend (now former girlfriend, but an attractive, smart woman) shared with me that she had to leave two jobs because her bosses had made serious sexual advances, and in both cases she went to management (she was in senior staff or management roles in both companies). She understood the environments and tended to ignore more 'innocent' things like occasional dirty jokes, guys suggesting she have a drink with them, or compliments bordering on advances (these things happened frequently to an attractive woman), as opposed to the more serious things that needed immediate action, like being thrown on the desk (which her one boss did, and admitted it when she reported him, but gave a glowing recommendation to her new employer!)."

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2. If someone is making you uncomfortable, it's not okay.

"I've had female co-workers complain about a sleazy business associate (at our partner company) who was always hitting on them. That guy was notorious for that, and most of us, men included, tended to avoid him, but my boss should have said something to him (it wasn't my place to do so then). Most women in business have seen that and ignored it, but if it is persistent and makes the woman uncomfortable, then it must stop. I understand that situations can make reporting that difficult."

3. Men need to stop being so damn offensive.

"As a single man, there aren't a lot of single guys I want to hang out with, and I'm frequently embarrassed by how other men treat women. Too many men are just stupid, but they can be encouraged by too many women being happy with any compliment, even if expressed in an inappropriate way. If a girl is walking down the street, what female with half an ounce of self-respect would like being whistled at or hearing some lewd comment? None that I know of would be attracted by that."

4. Many women also seem to victim-blame.

"Most men I know are respectful of women. I choose not to hang out with the ones who aren't. My current girlfriend runs a consulting company, is confident and attractive, and can actually work well with male clients who are interested in her sexually. But she is good at what she does, and she's consistent in her behavior.  She jokes with the men, puts them in their place when necessary, and doesn't cross the line. She thinks more women should 'suck it up' and I think she feels many of the current complaints are presented by women who are partially to blame.

For instance, you don't need to sit there and watch someone masturbate. If someone made you feel uncomfortable 30 years ago when you were an adult and worked for them or wanted their favor, then you should have said something then, not now. Being one of ten or twenty coming forward today makes you part of the problem, perhaps as much as the ones who remain silent. If you were a kid or were touched, then that's different, and is a big problem and should be reported."

5. Men take "innocent" too far.

"Here is something I find that differs between men and women: If engaged in a great conversation, sometimes the man can feel the woman is attracted to him, while the woman just enjoys the conversation. Sometimes it is a mutual attraction. My ex-wife came back from a regional team business trip (in the 1990s) and shared that she was having this great conversation with a guy that worked for her company, and at the end of the night he asked if she wanted to come to his room. She was offended, and couldn't believe it, but I could understand where the guy was coming from.

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Smart is sexy, just as physically attractive is sexy. I'd be interested in hearing what more women think. In summary, I think the 'innocent' stuff is too prevalent and should be reduced or stopped, but is a workplace situation that savvy women usually can navigate. It's tougher in smaller companies. If retaining your job or financial remuneration is at risk, then it's time to document things and go to management with evidence."

6. It really depends on the situation.

"Does it count if I'm doing it to my wife? Honestly, I love to smack her ass or randomly grab her boobs because it's just a token of my love and affection for her. It's not meant with any disrespect or a desire to feel less than or my property. Sometimes, I just really want to feel my wife's ass in my hands."

7. Things are getting better for women.

"I do think that all of the above constitute harassment and I'm glad there is a sea of change in the way that people treat each other and what's acceptable. Down with toxic masculinity!"

8. It's never alright.

"Groping, exposing yourself, and making sexual comments are forms of sexual harassment. This is just a fact. One needs to look in the mirror and simply ask themselves if someone said or did this to them, without consent, would they feel harassed? The acts are wrong, and we as a society must fix this."

9. Absolutely, it's harassment.

"Any unwanted ANYTHING is harassment and should never, ever occur. Unless he/she specifically asks for your d*ck pic/whistle/grabbing your (probably) tiny testicles, then you shouldn't. And that's the bottom line."

10. Women enjoy the compliments.

"I do believe that groping someone, exposing yourself, and sexual comments constitute sexual harassment. I'm far from squeaky clean, but I know where to draw the line. I've had a workplace affair or two (where I HAVE groped, exposed, and commented sexually, but with 'permission'), but outside of those situations, all instances of sexual talk were discussions and either initiated by the woman showing attraction, or the woman willingly engaging in or initiating a sexually-oriented conversation or behavior, typically when in a group.

Sh*t happens on the road, and I was with a big company that worked and played hard. I've gone skinny-dipping with a male and female coworker at a corporate event at a hotel pool (in the middle of the night, and it turned out that those two were having an affair), and saw a female colleague remove her bikini top and put on a T-shirt while several of us males were having a conversation with her (it was late, pretty dark, and everyone had been drinking). I've had bosses who had addiction problems, one of which was a sexual addiction (he was a married guy with young kids), and while most who worked for him knew about his indiscretions, when he dropped sexual innuendos, the women just laughed or ignored him, or had sex with him.

If he was scaring the women, then I would have said something to him, but he was a smooth talker and was good friends with a lot of the women, and while some of the things he said in the woman's presence made me uncomfortable, he knew who could handle it and sometimes they seemed to like the attention. These events all happened in the 1990s, and I think things are a lot more tame today."

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at