Sexual harassment can be defined by any unwanted sexual attention or unwanted behavior of a sexual nature. This does not mean the person perpetrating the act must physically touch you. It can be verbal or physical. Behaviors may range from very mild to very serious. It is illegal in almost all countries and can harm the victim in a psychological as well as physical nature.
The victim is not the only person who can report the crime. Many times the victim is fearful of reporting the behavior because they are unsure as to how they will be viewed as well as fearful of repercussions from the perpetrator. Especially if the perpetrator is a boss or in any kind of supervisory role. In many cases, the reporter is a co-worker or concerned third party.
Many times the perpetrator will feel that the report is “just a misunderstanding” and that the victim wanted the advances. Many times, these predators will take silence as permission to continue the behavior. If you are being victimized, it is important that you make it clear that the behavior is unwanted. This can be as simple as saying “Stop” or “No.” Anything that lets the perpetrator know that you are not wanting this behavior to continue.
There are two different types of workplace sexual harassment.
Quid pro quo is when the victim feels that they need to accept the behavior in order to keep their job. This may be said by the perpetrator or implied. Some examples of this are when a person in a supervisory role makes the victim feel that their job is in jeopardy if they do not comply with what the perpetrator wants.
Hostile is when there is a continuous pattern of verbal or physical behavior by the perpetrator. This can occur over the course of a day or weeks, months or years.
If you feel you are the victim of workplace sexual harassment, report it immediately. There are laws in place (both federal and local) that will protect you. Bottom line – if the victim feels that the crime has taken place, most likely a judiciary body will as well. This type of behavior is unacceptable and should be swiftly and effectively dealt with. You do not have to continue to be victim to it. Help is available. Know your rights and know that you are not alone. If you feel that behavior directed toward you is abusive, hostile or offensive, report it to the proper administrative agency.