In today’s environment, sexual harassment happens all too often. Depending on where you live and what your lifestyle is, you may notice sexcual harassment all around you. It happens in the workplace, at the gym, in the grocery store, and while you are out on the town in the evening. Everywhere you go you are left in a situation to be harassed sexually. It can be hard to determine what is harassment and what is just someone being friendly sometimes. In today’s world you need to be on your toes and aware of when someone is pushing things too far and get help if it is getting out of hand. There are three signs that what just happened to you was in fact sexual harassment.
Would an onlooker be okay with it?
One of the easiest questions to ask yourself about what has occurred would be ‘Would this be okay in front of my boss?’ If you do not feel as though your boss, your parent, your partner, or anyone else in a similar situation would be okay with what had occurred it is probably sexual harassment. Imagine these people standing by when the act happened to you. Would they stand by without saying anything? Would they want to reprimand the person? Would someone lose their job if their boss saw? If any of these questions are answered with yes you have probably been sexually harassed.
This is a great way to determine if it was someone being genuine or if it was someone being gross. Because we are being reprogrammed to be so careful about what we say and do, sometime things that people genuinely said out of care and thoughtfulness can make us a little bit uneasy. Ask yourself the above questions, you will probably not answer yes to most of them.
How did you feel following the encounter? Did you feel embarrassed suddenly and like you needed to get out of wherever you were? If the person made you feel inferior and like they were above you, it is likely that they were sexually harassing you. Often times, peoples reaction is to run rather than stand up for themselves when they are truly being harassed. If you find yourself wanting to take the flight reaction you have probably been sexually harassed and you need to find someone to report it to.
The definite sign of sexual harassment would be when someone chooses to make you feel the same way more than once. Does the same type of situation continue to occur? Were you initially unsure if the person was just being awkward and said something that came across odd or if they were intentionally wanting to make you feel the way they did? If the behavior happens more than one time it is definitely not someone just being awkward. Repetition is one of the clearest signs of harassment. People find joy and power in harassing others. If they continue to come back for more you need to find help quickly. Whether you find it in your employer, an attorney, or a family member, you need to be sure to report the behavior to someone.
Sexual harassment is a real problem that can not be ignored. In fact, the steps that have been taken towards stopping harassment over the last few years are making a very big difference already. The more we stand up for ourselves and make it known that the behavior is not okay the sooner we will be able to get rid of it all together.