Dec 11, 2011

Preventing Sexual Harassment

Preventing Sexual Harassment
Our world is filled with sexuality. Many songs, movies, radio and TV programs portray various aspects of sex, which are conducive to harassment. Basically, sexual harassment makes us feel unsafe, frustrated, misunderstood, angry, annoyed, and powerless, and many times may bring us to a point of physical distress.
It’s sexual harassment if, at any point, you are involved in something sexual that you suddenly don't want to be doing”. (Diana Devilliers, a clinical psychologist).

The behavior can be quite blatant or can be expressed in actions or com-ments that contribute to what's called a “hostile environment.” It can start with sexual comments, jokes and gestures. To know more about the types of sexual harassment, check out the list below:

Verbal Harassment :
Sexual comments, jokes, gestures, noises, propositions.
Catcalls or whistling in a demeaning manner with sexual overtones. Telling about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history.
Making sexual comments about a person's clothing, body, or looks.

Non-verbal harassment:
Sexual and/or derogatory comments displayed on various objects (e.g. mugs, hats, clothing, walls, computer screens).
Display of sexual pictures.
Making facial expressions, such as winking and throwing kisses.
Making sexual gestures with hands and/or body movements.
Letters, emails, posters, gifts, and/or materials of sexual nature.
Invading a person's body space, standing closer than appropriate or necessary.

Physical Harassment:
Any physically unwanted touches
Deliberate sexual touching
Purposely brushing up against a person
Patting, caressing, or fondling.
Exposing one self.

I SAID NO AND I MEAN IT!
Saying NO to unwanted sexual advances gets tougher when you're constantly hit by pornographic images. And doing so requires more than just uttering a short word. We have to mean NO and know exactly what we want - or don't want - to do sexually. It's about protecting our body from unwanted touching, and from any sexually inappropriate behavior.

If any of you are harassed at some point, here are some practical tips that'll help make it clear to the harassers that they should stay hands off!
  • Recognize that you have the right to do something about the offensive behavior.
  • State very clearly that you don’t like want or appreciate his or her behavior. By keeping quiet about what you're experiencing, you may be conveying that the behavior is somehow acceptable.
  • Do not blame yourself for the behaviors of others. If the harassment continues, talk to a parent, a school counselor, a teacher, or a close friend. Don’t feel you have to face the situation alone.
  • Consider distancing of withdrawing from the scenario. If you are in a situation where you don't sense anything will change, weigh out your options and switch to another environment.
Part of the solution is for us to tap into our personal power to say and mean NO, and to control our own body. And most importantly, it is the power that we all would have if we just band together and not accept any form of sexual harassment from anyone. If someone knew that he or she would never get a chance to harass us, how long do you think it would take this person to stop? Only the stupid ones would continue, and we know we don't want to be hanging with them anyway.
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