The common assumption with sexual harassment is that male supervisors will harass female workers who are at a lower position in the company. Perhaps the most common example is a male CEO and his female secretary.
This isn’t to take away from the validity of those cases at all, but things can happen the other way around. After all, sexual harassment often just hinges on who has the power in the relationship. If it’s a woman who is in a position of power over a man, she can potentially harass her subordinate in the same way.
Some argue that these cases tend to get overlooked. People find them harder to believe. One reason may be the way that the media portrays these dynamics.
For instance, when you look at movies that deal with these issues, you frequently find that aggressive women are written to be funny, not serious. If a female boss tells a male assistant to start up a sexual relationship with her or get fired, the audience is encouraged to laugh. If the gender roles were reversed, they would find that same scene repulsive. That’s a problem if it impacts the way people think about the real workplace.
Remember, sexual harassment happens in many different ways. You need to be aware of your rights no matter what happens to you. Often, these inappropriate relationships are about power more than anything else. But you do have the law on your side if you’re being harassed, and that gives you the power to protect yourself. Make sure you know what legal steps you will need to take as you move forward.