Sexual harassment defines any undesirable sexual behavior that leads to a negative emotional effect on a person. It is not only limited to sexual advances but may involve verbal or physical harassment. For example, saying anything about a woman of sexual context in a public place is a form of harassment, such as gym sexual harassment. Such behavior can affect a person’s mental state and well-being.
Types of sexual harassment:
- Making unsuitable sexual gestures
- Telling filthy jokes
- Staring in an inappropriate manner, such as whistling or winking
- Questioning about someone’s sexual interests or sexual history
- Commenting on a person’s body parts, clothes, or physical appearance
- Passing a vulgar comment about a person’s sexual orientation
- Intentionally doing improper behavior such as forceful brushing against a person, touching, rubbing or patting.
Sexual harassment in any form calls for prompt action against the harasser.
It is crucial to recognise this misbehaviour to protect yourself from the harassment.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
Sexual harassment can happen anytime. It is important to know what to do if such a situation arrives.
1.Anyone can be a harasser
Predator can be anyone, male or female. They have a specific sense of entitlement. Recognize individuals who are egocentric and disregard your feelings. Sexual harassers often use harsh language or threats to persuade in a forceful manner.
If there is something inappropriate happening to you then do not ignore these signals. Engaging in an uncomfortable situation can be harmful for you, so commit to your boundaries. Take a stand if someone does anything wrong to you that is against societal standards.
3.No means no
A situation may arise when a predator will make you uncomfortable, or persist on doing things which are inappropriate. Ask them to stop, and if they still continue, report it.
4.Follow your instincts
If you feel something is wrong about a person or a location it is better to leave the place. Sometimes unintentionally our mind is able to sense dangers and warn us. Move to a crowded area, or start pretending that you are talking to someone on phone.
5.Avoid sharing your location on social media
It is better to turn off your location notifications so that only your friends and family know about your where abouts.
6. Stay with your friends
Whenever you are attending a social event always trust the people you know well. If it’s a college party, stay close to your friends. Do not go out alone with a stranger. Make sure that your cell phone is charged to keep updating your family where you are.
In a crowded spot select a place where your back is against the wall. For example, when entering the elevator, if possible, try to stay near to any of the three walls.
8.Defend yourself with objects you are carrying
You can protect yourself from a potential harasser with a physical object or you’re belonging such as books, cell phone, shoulder bag etc.
9.Seek help with digital tools
Despite following protective measures, sexual harassment cannot be avoided by an aggressive individual. In an unfortunate situation like this report the incidence and seek help.
Share the location as digital devices allow sharing of real time data. Get immediate assistance by reporting signal for help.