Woman moving a man's hands away from her shoulder

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can be all sorts of things. It is a type of harassment involving unwelcome or inappropriate sexual action or words towards a person

Sexual harassment can affect both men and women. It takes many forms. 

Examples of sexual harassment

  • Flirting or making sexual remarks about someone's body, clothing or appearance
  • Repeated compliments on someone's appearance
  • Rubbing up against someone on the dance floor, or anywhere
  • Calling pet names such as sweetie, baby to strangers or people who are not an intimate relationship or friendship
  • Asking questions about someone's sex life
  • Telling sexually offensive jokes
  • Sending sexual content e.g. pornographic or sexual images to others
  • Sexual assault or rape
  • Touching someone against their will, for example touching their butt, breasts, hugging them, or unwanted touching on any part of the body
  • Whistling or cat-calling
  • Making sexually suggestive sounds or gestures such as sucking noises, winks
  • Threats or bribes for unwanted sexual activity
  • Repeatedly asking a person out for dates, or to have sex
  • Name-calling, such as bitch, whore, or slut
  • Staring in an offensive way (staring at a woman’s breasts, or a man’s buttocks)
  • Stalking a person

Tips to avoid harassment

  • Be clear about what you want and what you don’t want.
  • Be careful with recordings with a webcam. The video can be passed on to other people.
  • Don’t let someone put you under pressure. Don’t think you’re strange if you say no. It’s your body and your choice!
  • Stop a friendship or relationship if the other person doesn’t respect you.
  • Don’t say ‘maybe’ if you mean ‘no’.

If the worst happens

If the worst happens and someone forces you to have sex, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell someone and talk about it. It’s a terrible experience to be sexually assaulted or raped. It's natural to feel absolutely devastated.

Talk about it. Choose someone you trust: your mother, your best friend, your sister, your father, someone at school, or someone via internet if you prefer. Tell them what has happened. Ask for support so you feel stronger again.

And think about whether you want to report what has happened to the police – realistically, this may depend on where you live.

Guilt and shame

Victims often feel guilty – they think it’s their own fault. Which it isn’t! No one has the right to force another person to have sex. 

Victims also feel ashamed or embarrassed. You think everyone can tell what’s happened to you. Anyone who’s been forced to have sex against their will feel like this. It’s normal. You’re not overreacting. 

You might also feel repulsed by people, or sex, or your own body. If you feel deeply unhappy, depressed, or afraid, you should seek help.

Did you learn something new?

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 12:51 pm
Hi. I am an artist, 31, from India. I was at the receiving end of a sexual advance by a colleague who claimed he "was attracted to me", by shoving his hand into my panty the 2nd day he met me (post work) while I sat behind him on a bike after he offered to drop me back from work to a metro station. He had never asked me if I have a personal life or told me he liked me, asked for my permission before attacking my panty or any other part of my body or asked me out on a date if he really liked me. I felt violated and considered it a 'sexual assault', because I considered what he did dirty and considered it too big a leap to presume that degree of entitlement over the most intimate parts of my body without valuing my consent, even if we were "decently" flirting or being nice and charming with each other. I was offended that he even dared to make a "Sexual move" on me rather than inquire about my personal life, or show interest in me the person or wanting to spend quality time with me to get to know me or like me as a person. That was the only thing on his mind, and he attacked the most intimate part of my body violently with a sense of entitlement without knowing me based on the pretext that he "liked me". I like many men but I never attack any sexual or intimate part of their body without asking. Is it normal for a man to make such a move on a woman if he is attracted to her? Is it supposed to be taken as a compliment or a sign or disrespect because he took my body for granted without my consent, no matter how attracted he may have been to me? Is it normal for me to consider sexual advances which incorporate touching my body offensive rather than approaching me for a relationship or the person I am? Please share your thoughts.

Hello there, it perfectly alright for you to feel the way you feel towards your colleague. No one should touch you indecently without consent and that is considered sexual harassment. In some countries they even go ahead and make laws to curb sexual harassment. Perhaps, you need to consider talking to the person and sharing your feelings. 

Hello Lot, trust is an important part of any relationship. If there are trust issues in your relationship it is important that you begin by addressing the issues that may led to a lack trust. Find a good time to talk with your partner so that together you address the issues to ensure your relationship begin on the right note. We wish you all the best. Check out the following article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/jealousy-and-other-problems

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