Nearly half of all NY women are victims of sexual harassment: survey

NEW YORK -- Close to half of all women in New York State are victims of sexual harassment, according to a new survey, but many women in the workplace were not surprised.

“I think it’s kind of low,” Siobhan Doherty, a victim of sexual harassment, 10 years ago by a former colleague in Washington, D.C., told PIX11 News. “I think it would be much higher."

Ask any group of working women about sexual harassment in the workplace and some will tell you their own personal stories.

“There was a gentleman who made a comment of ‘I was shopping with my wife and I saw something at Victoria’s Secret that would look good on you’”, Doherty, a victim, told PIX11 News. “And I said ‘you know what? We’re stopping this conversation. I don’t feel comfortable."

“Someone might be walking by and say you look great in those jeans,” Crystal Brockington, a veteran formerly with the military police, told PIX11 News. “But with a body image issue that might be offensive."

So some women and men were not surprised by the latest Siena College survey which found that 45 percent of women say they’ve been sexually harassed at some point in their lives, 53 percent said they they had not.

Up from 36 percent of women saying they’d been sexually harassed in last year’s survey.

And 70 percent of men and women said sexual harassment in the workplace is a significant problem, according to the survey.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the numbers were higher,” Robert Pagliaro, a male worker, told PIX11 News.

“And then with the whole #metoomovement, more women are coming forward,” Priscilla O’Carroll, a working woman, told PIX11 News.

Solutions, what about solutions?

How would you try to end sexual harassment in the workplace?

Former city council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is now running for the city’s Public Advocate, is proposing a 'worst workplaces for women' watchlist.

“We should look at creating a watchlist for the best and also the worst workplaces in the city for women to watch for, using statistics,” Mark-Viverito told PIX11 News. “It’s not just a shaming issue. We want to change the culture."

And all agree one way to change the culture is having more women in management positions.

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