The Problem of Sexual Harassment in Law Enforcement

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2 pages /

1066 words

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2 pages /

1066 words

Downloads: 70

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Sexual Harassment is a prominent problem in any workplace, especially in male dominated ones where the females are the minority. The fear of losing a job and discrimination are reasons women do not report sexual assault in the workplace. The issue is encountered more frequently with females as they are considered to be vulnerable making them an easy target. However, in the law enforcement sector the issue of sexual assault of female coworkers and clients still runs ramped because of the hierarchy of men in the workplace. Women don’t just face harassment by their coworkers but in the field which makes their jobs that much more incredibly challenging, especially when it occurs on a daily basis.

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The topic of sexual harassment in the workplace including its impact on law enforcement personnel is a subject that has been highly researched and discussed but still remains a very large issue in most, if not all, workplaces today. The reasoning for this paper is to dive into who does the harassment affect, why it happens, where and when. These key points will be covered in order to get an in depth understanding of why harassment amongst females in the workplace is a large problem and why it still exists especially in the law enforcement sector.

The research of the first called “Sexual Harassment in Law Enforcement Incidence, Impact, and Perception. Police Quarterly.” article was done to demonstrate that sexual harassment is more common in professions that are considered to be nontraditional for women. For example, where the duties of the workplace are traditionally defined as masculine and the majority of employees are male. The research was done to examine the incidence, perception, and impact of sexual harassment in law enforcement. In the first study, a sample of 679 male and female personnel in a large law enforcement agency were taken to determine the extent of sexual harassment in a law enforcement agency. In the second study, 531 female police officers provided responses to a national survey addressing a range of professional experiences. The result of the research concluded that most of the respondents from the two studies experienced behaviors that could potentially be sexually harassing. Although, very few were reported with a formal complaint, but retaliation was common and often severe, such experiences have a negative impact on both personal and professional outcomes.

The research in the second article called “Masculinity Contest Cultures in Policing Organizations and Recommendations for Training Interventions” was done to bring to light that policing continues to be a male‐dominated occupation, masculine norms of behavior are reflective of a masculinity contest culture (MCCs). This culture contains four dimensions; show no weakness, strength and stamina, put work first and dog‐eat‐dog. These masculinity contest cultures lead to negative outcomes for not only individual officers but the organization and community. The study done in this particular research article was to identify prior research showing that policing organizations often demonstrate these four dimensions of MCCs. Data for Sites 1 and 2 are combined because the minority of woman in site 1, Respondents indicated their agreement/disagreement with each item 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) scale. The population of the study involved were two sites within a Canadian police organization in the fall of 2017 as part of a workplace inclusion assessment. Site 1 was documented to mainly be dominated by sworn police personnel and men, whereas Site 2 represented administrative support functions that are dominated by civilian personnel and women. The data that was collected about the MCCs had a correlation with negative organizational and individual outcomes. The other part of the research done suggested that social interactionism may offer a solution to MCCs with training interventions.

In the third article “Preserving Masculine Dominance in the Police Force with Gendered Bullying and Sexual Harassment” here are links between bullying and sexual harassment, and the research of this article was done to provide any relevant data that correlate the experiences of women in the policing workplace and their male colleagues. Data for this research obtained from a whole population survey conducted in 2013 that focused on work culture and gender relations within the Icelandic police. The research was done by a survey that included a sexual harassment questionnaire which included a mixture of questions. Building off of that survey it was found that women experienced both bullying and sexual harassment more frequently than men, with men being the perpetrators. The conclusion of this research article provided that bullying and sexual harassment are either conscious or unconscious ways of preserving the gender hierarchy within the police force.

The lats one article “Implications for Criminal Justice from the 2002 and 2006 Department of Defense Gender Relations and Sexual Harassment Surveys” says that the criminal justice system has a problem within its environment which is that of sexual misconduct. A multivariate statistical analysis of data from two Department of Defense-wide surveys (2002 and 2006) was conducted to determine the indicators and cofounders of sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault with attention to change during the study period. The study provided that there are prevention and intervention in military settings. Misconduct can be then concluded that it occurs with shared characteristics such as male dominance and authoritarian culture.

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After all the research that has been done and the evidence that has been provided, sexual harassment is still an ongoing problem in the law enforcement sector. The issue of harassment in the workplace is a topic that doesn’t just happen in Canada but around the world. Woman are more affected by this problem because of the hegemonically male dominated law enforcement field. It’s an unfortunate reality that needs to be addressed but will probably still continue to occur over the next decade.


  • Firestone, J.; Miller, J.; Harris, R. (September 01, 2012). Implications for Criminal Justice from the 2002 and 2006 Department of Defense Gender Relations and Sexual Harassment Surveys. American Journal of Criminal Justice, [s. l.], v. 37, n. 3, p. 432–451, 2012.
  • Garrett, L. H. (2011). Sexual Assault in the Workplace. AAOHN Journal, 59(1), 15–22.
  • Lonsway, K. A., Hall, J. N., & Paynich, R. (2013, June). Sexual Harassment in Law Enforcement Incidence, Impact, and Perception. Police Quarterly. 
  • Rawski, S. L., & Workman-Stark, A. L. (2018, September). Masculinity Contest Cultures in Policing Organizations and Recommendations for Training Interventions.
  • Steinþo ́rsdo ́ttir Finnborg S., & Pe ́tursdo ́ttir Gyða M. (2018, June 1). Preserving Masculine Dominance in the Police Force with Gendered Bullying and Sexual Harassment.
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The Problem of Sexual Harassment in Law Enforcement. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from
“The Problem of Sexual Harassment in Law Enforcement.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
The Problem of Sexual Harassment in Law Enforcement. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2023].
The Problem of Sexual Harassment in Law Enforcement [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Aug 30 [cited 2023 Sept 29]. Available from:
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