Sherita Hill Golden
Submitter: NiCole Buchanan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors: Nicole Buchanan
Michigan State University
Published August 16, 2019
As noted by Dr. Golden, women of color in medicine and related fields are targeted for sexual and racial harassment at alarming rates. However, there are more nuanced and complicated relationships between harassment subtypes for those embodying multiple marginalized identities. White women have higher rates of total harassment because they have higher rates of the most common type of sexual harassment, gender harassment (non-sexual, negative gender-based comments, such as women should not be surgeons). Examining subtypes of harassment reveals that women of color experience the highest rates of the most severe types of harassment, unwanted sexual attention (e.g., unwanted sexual touch) and sexual coercion (quid pro quo), where work-related threats or benefits are made contingent upon complying with sexual demands (1).
Furthermore, women of color commonly experience both sexual harassment and racial harassment in the same workplace setting (2). Experiencing multiple types of victimization results in additional psychological, physical, and occupational harm over above their individual contribution to negative outcomes (3). However, this still does not fully illuminate the range of harm for women of color because they experience yet another form of harassment that is typically overlooked, racialized sexual harassment.
Racialized sexual harassment (RSH) uniquely targets both race and gender simultaneously (4). RSH greatly exacerbates negative outcomes over and above experiences of sexual or racial harassment. RSH is appraised as more severe and negative, is more common when women of color are harassed by White men and leads them to rate cross-racial harassment as more frightening and disturbing (5). RSH also impairs effective coping responses. Women of color targeted for RSH report withdrawing from others, experiencing more self-blame, and more severe mental health consequences (6).