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What is Sexual Harassment and How to Handle?

Updated on June 28, 2016

A slight pinch there, a tap in the shoulder, a touch of the hair, a harmless joke which could escalate to sexual assault or rape. Sexual harassment includes unwanted or unwelcome touches, jokes or remarks, and look at a woman’s body. In public places, the usual scenarios are deliberate touching of a woman’s body, staring, cornering, rubbing sexually around a woman, looking up and down at a woman’s body, and whistling. In the workplace, jokes about a woman’s body, a slight pinch, asking about her sexual life, making unwelcome invitations after work, etc. Some of these instances may have been encountered by every girl. The key in preventing these from escalating to further sexual advances is to immediately take action. Tell him, “That’s sexual harassment, stop it!”

It’s hard to swallow that some evil men are out there who see women as an object of their desire. Admit it or not, scenes in the television sometimes depict (if not most often) that women are just men’s pastime. It’s a challenge for women to change how society or men should value women. The constant goal is to never give up. Yes, never give up in standing up for women's rights.

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Women’s Role in Society

As a woman, men and society should see you as,

  • Sacrificial. You are willing to sacrifice your own time to look after the needs of the family.
  • Loving. You make decisions that factor in the feelings of others; you are not harsh and forceful but base on love.
  • Influential. You constantly strive to be role models of the youth -- to be better individuals for your children to follow your footsteps.
  • Caring. You care enough -- so much that even it hurts your feelings.

In the case of sexual harassment, you should take a different stand. You aren’t the nice girl anymore who just bow down to the inappropriate behavior of men. It’s time that you look at your own feelings and protect your being.

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What Do You Feel When You are Harassed and How to Deal with Them?

1. You start to doubt yourself and your own sense of judgement.

Should I react to what he did to me? Should I tell him I didn’t like it? Maybe, I’m just adding malice to his actions towards me. He’s old, married and has daughters.

How to Deal:
Know that you are the only one who can determine what is appropriate and inappropriate for you. If you feel that his touch made you feel uncomfortable, you should listen to what your body is saying. No one has the right to question how you feel and how you want to be treated. Treat your body with respect. Yes, old and married men can harass too. They only think of how to satisfy their own desires even to the point of forgetting the impact of their negative behavior to their families. Harassers are selfish.

2. You just kept on thinking and forget to fight back immediately to confront the harasser.

What should I do? Many people are around...Should I tell it to him now? Maybe there will be another opportunity to say that you didn’t like that touch or joke…

How to Deal:
Note that some harassers do it even in the company of your friends or co-workers. They do it in an opportune time that they think you couldn’t fight back or even utter any word. Just say it. The right people will understand.

In public places, sometimes you feel that it is inappropriate to shout at the harasser because you do not like the attention. Sometimes, it crosses your mind that it is embarrassing for people to know that someone took advantage of you. However, you must CHANGE this mindset. These are all LIES. You should embarrass the harasser. Everybody should know that man can’t be trusted. He harassed you and wants to make you feel small. You should not let that happen again to other women out there. Put the shame back to him. Show him that he can’t make you feel small. By not speaking or fighting back, this sends a message to the harasser that what he did is just fine. He’ll continue to victimize other girls. Respond immediately to stop him. Say, “I don’t like that!”

3. You fear of possible retaliation against you.

If you don’t do anything, he will continue to victimize you and soon a more heinous crime can be committed against you. A slight touch of the back or of the hair could escalate to rape. The sooner you fight back or say something, the sooner it will stop! Be courageous and bold.

To prevent further sexual harassments or advances, tell it to a friend so someone can look after you. Make an incident report and submit to authorities. If it happens in the workplace, report it to your immediate boss or HR. Report it to the police and make a blotter report. Remember, you are not only doing it for yourself but for other women out there who can be victimize by the same harasser.

Every women should speak up and know their rights. You should not question your own sense of judgement. You should teach men how to respect women. It’s about time that women show their strength and courage to fight any form of abuse or violence inflicted against them.

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    • brighter-light profile image
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      Cherry 2 years ago

      Hi Michaela, sometimes just saying, "I don't like that" prevent things from piling up...if you don't like being touched, you can decipher if the person would respect that (if he is touchy in nature) and stop touching you or he is really doing that on purpose...With sexual harassment being reported several times, I think the best to ward them off is to show that you are unafraid to speak up. I don't believe and trust the police men, court system or any law enforcer to actually fight for your rights and depend on them to defend you. Sexual harassment/abuse boils down to an individual level. Others can tolerate a touchy-feely person without feeling harassed. There are times that law enforcers or defenders would say that, "The matter is just in your head, that it won't escalate to rape. You're just paranoid"...That's why you have to be assertive. They say, "better be safe than sorry." So be on the look out if someone is trying to pinch you that made you feel uncomfortable, say it immediately. This will deter any further sexual advances towards you.

    • Michaela Osiecki profile image

      Michaela 2 years ago from USA

      The problem with speaking up or calling out a harasser, sometimes, is that he could retaliate with violence or even worse harassment. It sucks, but you have to know when to pick your battles and ALWAYS put your own safety first.

      In an ideal world, we would teach young boys not to harass and rape, instead of putting the onus on women to prevent themselves from being raped or harassed.

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