Keeping our society informed about sexual harassment is a significant aspect of creating safe and healthy lifestyles. With the correct tools and information, all of us could better our work and social environments. Therefore, our website’s goal is to inform young adults in identifying, preventing, and handling sexual harassment. Because this issue is a widespread and continuous problem that occurs in educational institutions, it is very important to educate the youth about sexual harassment. Mainly, our overall vision is to help people create a better everyday life for themselves.
So let’s begin by defining sexual harassment. Sexual Harassment is any unwanted sexual comments, suggestions, advances or threats towards any individual. It is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. What many people are not aware of is that sexual harassment consists of many different things, like verbal, nonverbal and physical. Nowadays, it is very common among kids and teens especially when smart phones, online messaging, and social media sites make it easier for bullies to act without immediate consequences, or any consequences at all. Aside from educational institutions, sexual harassment is also present in the workplace. Sadly, many people in either setting cannot identify sexual harassment.
What should I do if I am sexually harassed?
If you have been sexually harassed and feel scared, nervous, or embarrassed, it is understandable and completely normal. However, it is important to always put your health, comfort, and safety above all. Many women who have experienced sexual harassment could also experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, and in severe cases, they could commit suicide. It is essential that one prevents it from getting this far. Therefore, one must seek help.
There are several things that can be done if you or a loved one have been sexually harassed. One of them includes confronting the person who is harassing you. If the harasser continues, even after you have confronted them, this is when you should take further action. For example, if the issue occurs on school grounds, then you should get the school involved. Talk to a teacher, an administrator, or any responsible adult. If talking to any of these people does nothing to stop the harassment, talk to the superintendent or the school board. Keep in mind that all schools are required to follow educational codes. The Education Code section 212.5, or “Sexual Harassment,” addresses the procedure taken when the issue of sexual harassment occurs. Therefore, you should be sure that action will be taken when an issue of sexual harassment is reported. If the assault occurs in a work environment, then one should immediately file a complaint to a supervisor. In more severe cases, you may not feel comfortable confronting the harasser, but remember that you still have other options. You can talk to a teacher, a family member, or a coworker instead of talking to the harasser first. Regardless of who you decide to talk to, just make sure you tell someone. Overall, you should never have to worry about others being aware about the situation. Schools and work places will make sure that the issue is kept confidential. Remember that you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Chances are you are not the only one being harassed, and if this is the case, then others may be helped because you spoke up.
Here are some examples.
· Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey
· Whistling at someone, cat calls
· Making sexual comments about a person’s body
· Making sexual comments or innuendos
· Turning work discussions to sexual topics
· Telling sexual jokes or stories
· Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history
· Asking personal questions about social or sexual life
· Making kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips
· Making sexual comments about a person’s clothing, anatomy, or looks
· Repeatedly asking out a person who is not interested
· Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person’s personal sex life
· Looking a person up and down (Elevator eyes)
· Staring at someone
· Blocking a person’s path
· Following the person
· Giving personal gifts
· Displaying sexually suggestive visuals
· Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements
· Making facial expressions such as winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips
· Giving a massage around the neck or shoulders
· Touching the person’s clothing, hair, or body
· Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking
· Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person
· Standing close or brushing up against another person
What should I say or do if someone I know is being sexually harassed?
There are many who have been, or continue to be, sexually harassed. In many cases, victims feel uncomfortable with it or embarrassed to bring it up. The first thing you should do is provide the person who is being harassed with confidence and security. It is important to create a comfortable and trustworthy environment. Second, listen to what they say. Let them know that if they don’t like the attention or act, they should stand up for themselves and the situation. In the end, the only person who should feel embarrassed about the harassment is the harasser. Lastly, always be unbiased in this situation. Also, consider the victim’s feelings. They may feel lonely and confused. Victims often want to do something about the harassment, but they also fear they would not have any support from anyone they trust, so it makes it even harder for them to speak up. Remember, just talking and listening to someone can make a big difference in helping someone who is dealing with sexual harassment.
Examples of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is not just committing rape or molesting someone. Sexual assault is any involuntary sexual act in which a person is physically forced to do it without the persons consent. The rate of sexual assault has been growing more and more every year. As a society, we just sit around and watch this happen, and it is time that we take a stand against this culture that tends to normalize sexual assault. According to statistics, 15 to 25% of women have been sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime. It’s time to take a stand.
What to say/do:
-Listen & offer comfort
-Say you understand
-“It is definitely not your fault”
-“If you don’t feel comfortable, stop it”
-“I’m here to support you”
-“We can make it confidential”
-Give them confidence to speak up
What not to say/do:
-Don’t be forceful
-Don’t blame them
-Don’t make them feel guilty
-Don’t say it is both of their fault
-Don’t make excuses for the person’s behavior
-Don’t ignore it or say it’s just a phase
-Don’t put them down or feel shameful
All in all, sexual harassment is not acceptable. Please help those who are being harassed before the issue becomes more severe and remember that you can always find help.
External Links for Further Information
“Sexual Assault.” Sexual Assault. N.p., 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 05 May 2015.
“Sexual Harassment At Work.” Equal Rights. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2015.
“Sexual Harassment – Fact Sheet – Feminist Majority Foundation.” Sexual Harassment – Fact Sheet – Feminist Majority Foundation. Feminist Majority Foundation, n.d. Web. 05 May 2015.
“We Can All Help Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment.” Ontario.ca. N.p., 04 Mar. 2015. Web. 05 May 2015.
“What Do I Do If I’m Being Sexually Harassed?” Ontario Human Rights Commission. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2015.