Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012
How many times have we cried, “Ahh! Rape” or “Stop sexually harassing me!” as a joke with our friends or coworkers if conversation is turning sexual? Lots of people do it, but lots of people don’t.
Sometimes what we fail to recognize is that sexual harassment goes far beyond a group of joking friends or flirty coworkers. Between two people in a situation where one feels genuinely victimized, harassment can quickly escalate and, in rare cases, turn into sexual assault.
What is Sexual Harassment?
· Unwanted pressure for sexual favors.
· Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.
· Unwanted sexual looks or gestures.
· Unwanted letters, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature.
· Unwanted pressure for dates.
· Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.
· Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey.
· Whistling at someone.
· Cat calls.
· Sexual comments.
· Turning work discussions to sexual topics.
· Sexual innuendos or stories.
· Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history.
· Personal questions about social or sexual life.
· Sexual comments about a person's clothing, anatomy, or looks.
· Kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips.
· Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person's personal sex life.
· Neck massage.
· Touching an employee's clothing, hair, or body.
· Giving personal gifts.
· Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking.
· Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person.
· Standing close or brushing up against a person.
· Looking a person up and down (elevator eyes).
· Staring at someone.
· Sexually suggestive signals.
· Facial expressions, winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips.
· Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements.
Sexual Harassment occurs if any of these actions are unwanted by the victim. Even if they give consent or do not object, but the action is still unwanted, there is sexual harassment occurring.
What to do About Sexual Harassment...
The first step in ending a period of sexual harassment is to confront your harasser. Do so in a calm manner and explain that you do not want or appreciate their attention in a sexual manner. The harasser may not even realize how uncomfortable you are in those situations and did not intend to upset you.
If the first step fails and they continue to bother you, the next best step is to consult one of your superiors and ask for help. If your manager or supervisor is unable to assist you, or you are being harassed by one of them you might consider seeking outside assistance from a corporate authority, or the police (especially if you feel that you are in danger of being sexually assaulted).
Sex can be a fun topic amongst friends or coworkers, but it’s important to realize that not everyone feels the same way. Be sure that the people you horse around with are fully okay with the subject matter and do not feel pressured to join in.
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