In order to deal with sexual harassment, it’s important to understand what it is and how it manifests itself. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, and location. It’s a kind of intimidation and violence that is expressed in different ways, such as physical and psychological. It is inappropriate and unwanted behavior that can occur at school, work, on social media, and even in a family environment.
Recognizing sexual harassment can be very difficult as it is not always obvious. It can include advances, touching, and other forms of unwanted physical and sexual contact.
Here are five ways to recognize sexual harassment:
- Sexual comments: If someone makes unwanted sexual comments to you about the way you dress, your body, appearance or sex life.
- Intimidating Behavior: If someone invades your personal space in an insistent and uncomfortable way.
- Manipulation: Manipulation commonly happens with people who have a higher hierarchical level than you, for example, your boss or teacher. They can ask you to go out with her or him to “give you a raise,” “improve grades,” or they can even ask you to have sex in exchange for a benefit.
- Threats: Threats can be a type of sexual and psychological harassment, this is very common with ex-partners, for example, threatening to display intimate content in order to get something in return.
- Gestures of a sexual nature: This form is the most common and unfortunately the one that is “normalized” because it became part of the experiences on the street, mainly as whistles or supposed compliments, compliments about your physical appearance. Despite how disgusting it can be to walk down the street and suddenly hear that someone is alluding to your way of seeing you, it is one of the worst experiences I have ever had. And I’m sure everyone has had at least one experience in life, more common if you’re a woman.
If you think you are being sexually harassed or harassed, remember that while it’s never your fault, it is very important that you take steps to protect yourself. Here are some steps you can follow:
Document the harassment: If you are a victim of harassment keep a record of what is happening, such as who, where, and the time and date of what happened. The details are important!
Put a stop: I know it sounds easy, but it’s important to say NO. If someone makes an inappropriate sexual comment to you, asks for a sexual favor in exchange for something, or behaves in a way that makes you feel bad, speak up and express what bothers you.
Seek Help: You can seek support from people you trust, such as family or friends, or even a therapist. Talk about the situation and how it makes you feel.
Complaint: If even with stops, or the sexual harassment became even more continuous, it is important that you report it to the authorities, be it the police or a person of power in the location you’re being harassed.
Get advice: If you are a victim of sexual harassment and wish to press charges, seek legal advice. Go to a lawyer to find out about your rights and options, or go to a corresponding public instance to draw up a record.
Breaking the silence is the first step in overcoming sexual harassment!