But most do agree that a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is needed
Almost nine out of 10 Americans want to lay down the law.
Eighty-seven percent of people think a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy is “essential” for effecting societal change, according to a recently released Ipsos/NPR poll. Even more heartening: The call for tougher restrictions seems to cross party lines, with 91% of Democrats and 81% of Republicans supporting a zero-tolerance policy.
The poll, conducted Dec. 8 to 12 — about two months after exposés on Harvey Weinstein spurred an avalanche of sexual misconduct allegations against him and other powerful men — also saw both parties acknowledging the problem to some extent: 76% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans agreed that “pretty much every woman has experienced some form of sexual harassment in her life.”
The survey still carried a whiff of resignation — 41% of Democrats and 48% of Republicans said it was inevitable that men would “hit on” female coworkers.
At least one striking partisan difference emerged: 35% percent of Republicans, versus 20% of Democrats, thought “nearly all instances of sexual harassment would end if the woman simply told the man to stop.” That divide grew even deeper once gender came into play, with 43% of Republican men agreeing with that line of thinking as opposed to just 15% of Democratic women.
Americans appear conflicted on whether to believe the accuser or the accused, the poll further found. Nearly 80% of participants thought sexual harassment victims “should be given the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise”; meanwhile, more than three-quarters believed those accused of harassment should get the benefit of the doubt. That stat hovered close to 80% for Democrats, Republicans and independents regarding both the accuser and accused.
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