Are You Sexually Harassing Someone?
I recently read an article where Quentin Tarrantino lamented not taking the sexual harassment allegations against collaborator, Harvey Weinstein, more seriously. Tarrantino basically said that he knew, but didn’t want to deal with it because it was low level stuff (my interpretation).
This tells me that we still don’t know what sexual harassment is.
If we are going to let go of sexual harassment, we have to know when we’re engaging in it so we can police ourselves.
11 Signs of Sexual Harassment
Cat calling. If you are yelling suggestive or flirtatious things to a stranger, stop. It doesn’t matter if it’s meant to be flattering. It’s inappropriate to talk about someone their clothes, how they look, how they make you feel, or what you want to do to a stranger. They are not responding to you. If you’re yelling out the car window as they are walking by and you get no response. Stop. If you’re calling, texting, or emailing and you get no response. Stop. While there may be no sexual component, it’s probably harassment. A conversation includes two willing parties. One of you isn’t willing.You’re not in a social setting. If you are making personal or sexual advances in a workplace setting, it’s harassment. Keep it professional. One, or both of you, is there to work. You’re a superior or have power over them. In many cases, it’s illegal or unethical to have a sexual relationship with someone whom you have power over. For example: boss/employee; therapist/client; doctor/client; prison guard/inmate; teacher/student; adult/child. The power differential may make the person with lower power feel unable to say no. They respond to your flirting by changing the topic. If flirting is one sided, stop. The other person isn’t interested. If you persist, it’s harassment.They tell you to leave them alone. This is an obvious stop sign. Obey the boundary.You stop them from leaving. If you are standing in front them them, blocking the doorway, blocking their car door, or preventing them from moving forward, you are way over the line. Touching someone who doesn’t want to be touched. If you touch someone without their permission, if they shrug you off, or tell you that they don’t want to be touched – even if you have done it in the past, stop. You don’t have permission now. Moving forward is harassment. It doesn’t matter if it’s “just” their shoulder or arm. It doesn’t matter if you just brushed by them. Don’t touch. Ever.Making advances on someone who is in a relationship. While lots of people cheat and even seek out partners who are unavailable, making a move on someone who is in a relationship could be considered undesirable and harassment. It’s best not to do this.Sexual conversations and jokes. Making sexual innuendos, talking about gender identity, sexual orientation, telling sexual jokes, talking about your sexual experiences in person, text, or by email is a boundary violation. Stop.Making suggestive gestures. Looking someone up and down or engaging in suggestive touching of the body or clothing is sexual harassment if it makes someone uncomfortable.
Both men and women can engage in sexual harassment. The victim does not have to be someone of the opposite sex or even the target of the behavior.
You don’t have to have a monetary loss or be threatened with losing your job to be a victim of sexual harassment.
If someone’s behavior is unwelcome, it is harassment.
If we all practice healthy boundaries, this problem goes away today.
Another way to help out is to say something. If this is your buddy, your mom, or your friend, speak up. Educate them about healthy boundaries and the law because it’s not only undesirable, it’s criminal to sexually harass others.
Everyone deserves to walk around free from harassment. Let’s make that happen.