What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

March 13, 2023 Off By Glespynorson

Sexual harassment, assaults, and violence are ever more prevalent in our society. How do you know what is harassment and what is not?

With a growing awareness of consent popular among the sexually active right now, there is an unsteady undercurrent of people who claim ignorance of these laws. Ignoring sexual harassment laws, however, doesn’t make them any less important. If you are touching people at work inappropriately, making advances you know are unwelcome, or talking diminutively to people based on their sex or gender, then you are committing a crime.

This article explores the defined parameters of sexual harassment within the context of what you can do to prevent it, and what might happen to you should you choose to instigate it.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment refers to facing discrimination based on a person’s gender or sexual orientation. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is very clear on what the terms of sexual harassment are.

Although the laws on sexual harassment in the US specifically mention the following things:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature
  • Offensive remarks about a person’s sex
  • This usually takes place in a social or work setting.
  • Simple teasing and isolated incidents are not illegal, but consistent, repeated verbal abuse is a crime.

To put this another way, if a person says no to your advances, or does not respond to them in an enthusiastic way, you should not attempt to pursue them. If you do pursue them after a refusal, you are harassing them. If you try to pursue someone in the workplace, particularly if you are of a higher level than they are, this also constitutes sexual harassment. If you are in any way unclear about where you advances are welcome or not, err on the side of caution. It is not OK to touch people while you work, or pass comments about their sexuality, gender, body, or anything else.

What to do if you Experience Sexual Harassment?

The first step to reporting sexual harassment experienced in a public place, such as in a bar or in your office, is to report it. Go to the nearest person in authority, or choose one you are more comfortable with, are tell them what is happening. Many bars operate on the “ask for Angela” scheme or send staff for training schemes through organizations such as the Good Night Out campaign. Look out for messages on the inside doors of the toilets which tells you of any special code to ask for at the bar when you feel unsafe.

Report the abuse to the nearest overseer and trust them to deal with it efficiently. Call someone from the bar and have them physically enter the building to get you and give you a ride home. If the situation arises at work, report it to your supervisor and avoid being alone with the perpetrator. If it continues after you report it in any scenario, or if it threatens your immediate safety, call the authorities, and wait for them to arrive.

If this happens to you, you do not need to accept it. If you experience it in a workplace or somewhere else where you must repeatedly endure it every day, then seek out the services of a professional, friendly, and helpful Sexual Harassment Lawyer. They can force your workplace to act against this behavior, ensuring you have a safer experience in future. Remember, you can call the police if the problem results in violence.

Steps to Deal with Sexual Harassment in Public:

  • Remove yourself from the situation.
  • Report it to the bar staff, managers, or your own supervisor.
  • Avoid being alone with the person or people.
  • Chase resolutions in your workplace.
  • If you feel not enough has been done, start recording interactions.
  • If it turns violent, call the police.
  • Do not leave the building alone, call a friend.
  • IF the resolution suits you, you could consider the matter resolved.
  • If the resolution does not suit you, you can return to the authority in charge and reiterate your complaint.
  • If it continues unresolved it is time to call in the sexual harassment lawyers.

Statistics on Sexual Harassment in the US

Just how bad is the problem of sexual harassment? This is a worldwide problem, though a recent Good Morning America report suggested as many as 11 million woman in the US have been sexually assaulted while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Although sexual harassment and sexual assault are two different things, evidence of one clearly indicates evidence of the other.

With 43% of US men and 81% of US women reporting sexual harassment and violence in their lifetime, statistics are growing yearly. In 2021 alone, the US military sexual harassment cases increased by 13%. Remember too that it is not only women who experience sexual harassment. Although the statistics are far higher for women – with around 1 in 5 women experiencing a violent sexual assault at least once in their lives – men and others can be victims, too.

It’s not just in the US, either. According to reports out of the UK, the figure may be far higher than 1 in 5. 97% of those surveyed in a UK said they had been sexually harassed, with 96% of those failing to report the attacks through a lack of police response. It gets far worse than that. Many UK women had no idea that the abuse they underwent daily constituted sexual harassment or sexual assault. They became so used to it that they don’t even consider it worth reporting.

Why Report Sexual Harassment?

In the modern age it is far beyond time that this sort of discrimination stopped. Each person ought to be treated with respect, whether they are at work or in a social situation, out in public or in their own home. Sexual harassment – wherein someone makes unwelcome comments about your sex or gender, or sexual assault – in which they put their hands on you without your express consent, are both illegal. Don’t suffer it in silence. The women who come after you depend on you to speak out.