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Sexual Harassment In The Workplace: From the Middle Ages to Today Essay

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Sexual Harassment is first traced from the Middle Ages in the feudal era, custom stipulated that all vassals or serfs were required to give their brides to satisfy their masters sexually. The only way this could be avoided was where the bride or the bridegroom paid a specific amount of produce in redemption dues. While this may seem different from sexual harassment on the job, in fact, in feudal times, the feudal lord was the employer of his vassals and serfs, and their brides became his sexual property. The masters appear to have enforced this custom regularly and with great enthusiasm.

During slavery, slave women were forced into dual exploitation: as laborers and sexual partners. Their physical labor and their sexual favors belonged to their male masters. Slaves had no legal right to refuse advances from their masters, since legally the concept of raping did not exist. A female slave was frequently used by her owner for his sexual and recreational pleasure. This sexual privilege was a hierarchical right that spilled over to the slave owner's neighbors, visitors, and younger sons eager for initiation into the mysteries of sex.

As slavery was replaced by lowly paid domestic help, female servants, particularly the young maids, were often forced to become the sexual playthings of the members of their employers' families. A domestic servant was afforded little privacy, dignity, or freedom to socialize with others. The employer expected sexual favors to go along with the rest of the duties exacted from the domestic servants. The domestic servant who became pregnant could no longer anticipate marriage. If she bore an illegitimate child, she would be dismissed from her job and shunned by society. As a last resort, unemployed dome...


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...Lawrence Solotoff, Henry S. Kramer. "Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace". Law Journal Press, 2015

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), (n.d.). Sexual harassment. http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm

Judith Berman Brandenburg. "Confronting Sexual Harassment: What schools and colleges can do". Teachers College Press, 1997

Richard B. Barickman. "Academic and Workplace Sexual Harassment: A Resource Manual" State Univ of New York Press, 1991

Eliza G.C. Collins and Timothy B. Blodgett. "Sexual Harassment…Some See It…Some Won’t" Harvard Business Review, March 1981. Web. 6 June 2015.
https://hbr.org/1981/03/sexual-harassmentsome-see-itsome-wont

Barbara A. Gutek. "Sexual Harassment on the Job". 2012. Web. 1 June 2015.
http://scholarship.law.nd.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1477&context=ndjlepp


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