Sexual harassment can be defined as a situation whereby an individual is subjected to some form of bullying or coercion by the perpetrator in an attempt to force them into interacting in sexual activity. This menace usually takes place within a working environment but is not limited to this particular surrounding. In a majority of cases, sexual harassment takes place between a man and a woman (women usually being the victim), and/or a subordinate and their superior. This act is highly inappropriate no matter where it takes place, and a majority of countries have taken steps to prevent it from happening through placing legislations that make such activity illegal. Individuals found guilty of sexual harassment do not only face jail time, but could cost the company they work for a huge amount of money as the victim could also decide to sue the employers of the perpetrator.
Sexual harassment is still a big issue in the workplace and some victims do not bother to report the matter to relevant authorities, as they fear losing their job in the process. Thankfully, a stern stance has been taken by most countries and organizations in a bid to curb the menace, and this has resulted in the development of a number of options for anyone who may be subjected to this action. It should also be noted that the particular views on sexual harassment and its definition varies across different countries, cultures and societal settlements. This has led to a difficulty in effectively developing a solution that wholly purges the issue of such harassment from every sector in which it can be found.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
A number of actions can constitute sexual harassment, especially if these actions are committed with the aim of coercing the victim into engaging in sexual activity. Making offhand comments, inappropriate touching, vulgar suggestions and the like can all be defined as sexual harassment, especially if carried out over a period of time. It should be noted that in order for any of these actions to be considered as sexual harassment, the actions need to be unwelcome on the part of the victim, and in no way encouraged by them.
How Can One Fight Sexual Harassment?
There are a number of ways in which an individual being subjected to sexual harassment can fight back against the perpetrator in a bid to put an end to these actions. Some of these include:
• If this harassment is taking place within the workplace, an individual is able to report the perpetrator to the organization’s HR department and request for assistance in handling the matter. Any report should be delivered in documented form to serve as proof of action should it be needed in the future.
• If the nature of this harassment is severe and verges on or exceeds the physical barrier, then an individual would do well to report the matter to the police. Such an action is crucial, especially if the victim fears for their well being.
• Sexual harassment should not be tolerated in any form or within any environment, and should be shunned by society in general if there is to be any hope of bringing an end to the menace.