Sexual harassment is unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature. This can be a whole range of behaviours – it may be sexual comments or jokes, sending or displaying pictures or videos of a sexual nature, or physical contact that is not wanted. People can be sexually harassed by strangers or by people they know. It may be that the perpetrator (the person who carried out the harmful act) did not mean to cause offence and it was simply a mistake. It may however be that they intended to do it, because they wanted to make the person feel intimidated or because they did not care that their behaviour was unwanted.
HOW SEXUAL HARASSMENT MAKES PEOPLE FEEL
Everyone who experiences sexual harassment reacts to it differently. Some people feel angry and frustrated. Some people feel scared – they may be scared of the perpetrator or become scared in other sexual situations as a result of the harassment. Some people may feel embarrassed by what happened. Sexual harassment can be a very traumatic experience and it is important to recognise that it can change how you feel about things and make your relationships difficult in the future.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY HARASSED?
It is important to make sure that the victim is safe and out of danger of being harassed again. It may be necessary to take action to try and prevent harassment happening again – this may be not spending time alone with the perpetrator or changing your behaviour around them. It is also important to tell the perpetrator how they made you feel and to tell them that you don’t want it to happen again. It may be helpful to get someone else to help you do this, such as a family member, employer or the police, so that the perpetrator realises how serious their actions are. It is important that they are held responsible for what they have done. Telling someone else about what happened may also be useful so that you can talk through your feelings with them and they can also help you try to stop it happening again.
If you see someone being sexually harassed, it is important not to stay silent. You can help by telling the perpetrator to stop or by being there for the victim if they need comfort and r.
Sexual harassment is an intrusive behaviour that should not be tolerated. It is important that we tell people about what it is and why it is such a traumatic experience in order to try to prevent it from happening in the future.