What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment is very different from sexual assault, but the two do relate to each other. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, sexualized jokes or comments, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment is generally broken down into 2 categories, Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment:

Work sexual harassment couple

Quid Pro Quo is when conditions are placed on a person’s career or terms of employment for sexual favors. It involves threats of adverse actions or promises of favorable actions depending on the responses of the victim.

Hostile Environment is when a person is subjected to offensive, unwanted, and unsolicited comments and behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with that person’s work or performance. It is usually referenced towards the workplace but hostile environments can be any location that a person is required to be at.

Sexual harassment is unfortunately very common, below is a quote from the Huffington Post for a female’s experience as a young teen with sexual harassment:

“When I was 14 I worked at Tim Hortons in Canada. While I was working I had an older man, looked to be in his 60s or 70s, tells me that he couldn’t sleep at night without me beside him in his bed and asked if I would come home with him. I was absolutely disgusted that a man would say that to me as a child.” — Emma, 26”(Agrawal, N. 2015)

Phone sexual harassment

Sexual harassment does not have to be in person, as technology changes and grows, sexual harassment also expands. Text messages, chat rooms, phone calls, social media, and more are used to sexually harass other people.

Sexual Harassment Statistics

Sexual harassment is very common, the most reported location to be sexually harassed is the workplace. In a survey done by AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research) in 2008 they analyzed 92 different companies and gathered 500 respondents data.

Male sexually harassing female and a female sexually harassing a male

These statistics show that both biological genders experience sexual harassment, but barely half of them know what to do about it or where they can go to find out more information. While many companies are progressively pushing to have better policies to cover this problem, it still requires each person to help. If you or someone you know has been sexually harassed or assaulted please document it, and report it to the proper authorities (police, human resources, etc...) and then follow up on it. Only by doing this can sexual harassment and assault be stopped

What is Sexual Assault & Rape?

Sexual Assault has many aspects and can also be referred to as sexual violence. It is defined as any unwanted sexual contact from another party, this includes but is not limited to kissing, touching, groping, molestation, and penetration or rape. Sexual assault is different from sexual harassment as sexual assault requires a physical contact between 2 parties, where as sexual harassment doesn’t require physical contact but can include it. Sexual assault refers to: rape, forcible sodomy (oral or anal sex), and other unwanted sexual contact that is aggravated, abusive or wrongful, or even attempting to commit any of these acts. Sexual assault has no age limits, there have been many cases where children and elderly have been sexually assaulted.

Rape is a form of sexual assault or sexual violence. Rape is the unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object without the consent of the victim. ( LLC 2017)

Assault / fighting

Sexual Assualt Statistics

General Sexual Violence
Sexual Violence Against Minors
Sexual Violence on Campus
Crime Rates for Sexual Assault
Judge's gavel

Sexual Assault or Harassment Legalities

Sexual assault is a statutory offense that states that it is a crime to knowingly cause another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force or threat.
Many states have gone through and redefined rape with statutes that define sexual assault in different degrees. This means that sexual assault can be connected to rape, but with the revised version of rape not all sexual assault acts are included as a rape incident.
To find out more details or specifics please visit your local legal associations or community resources.

Sexual Violence Prevention

There are many potential places for sexual violence, the most common to least common according to (a website dedicated to sexual assault and awareness) are:

While most of the above places can’t be avoided all the time, there are still many ways to protect oneself from sexual violence.

Keep Calm Crown

Be Prepared & Stay Calm

This doesn’t mean, let the perpetrator do whatever they want, what this means is think of a plan of escape. While immediately fighting feels like a good idea, many sexual violence cases have a perpetrator that is physically stronger or a better fighter than the victim. So to solve this, one must stay calm and think of a plan.

Noisy megaphone

Make Lots of Noise

While most people get annoyed of nosy neighbors, they can be of great assistance during an emergency. It is highly recommended by police and government officials to yell and scream when being assaulted, in order to draw attention from members of the public that could be of assistance to the victim.

Say No Clearly

Say NO! Clearly

When at parties, social events, or just at a private gathering there are many types of people. Some of these people will respond correctly when directly told “No!”. The other reason to say “no” is to protect yourself in the event of malicious people trying to say “you wanted it because you never said ‘No’”. While this type of thing sounds terrible it unfortunately happens, so always be clear and say “No!”.

Aware symbol, exclamation mark in a triangle

Be Aware

Many sexual violences occur due to alcohol consumption and other drugs, so to protect oneself be aware of who you are with and help by watching over your friends. Date Rape drugs are very subtle but can occasionally be detected by a salty taste, so be aware of your drinks and what they are supposed to taste like. Be aware of who you are with and ask for help if something feels strange. If at a bar, one of the best helps can be the bartender as they will want to protect the reputation of the bar by not allowing date rape instances to happen in or near it, or they can call you a cab if you just feel you are too intoxicated.

What to do After Sexual Violence

Unfortunately there are times that sexual violence cannot be avoided, in these instances there are steps one should take so that the victim gets taken care of with proper assistance:

  1. Don’t blame yourself. The sexual violence was not your fault.
  2. Talk to an adult before going to a police station or hospital. If you don’t have an adult to talk to then go directly to the police station or hospital.
  3. Don’t urinate (pee) before getting help. Get a urine test as soon as possible. A urine test can tell if someone gave you a date rape drug. But these drugs can leave your system in as little as 12 hours.
  4. Don’t bathe, douche, or change clothes before getting help. Doing these things can remove possible evidence of the rape, such as semen (fluid from a man) or hair belonging to the person who assaulted you.
  5. Get medical care right away. Tell the doctor or nurse if you think you were drugged. They will give you a urine test right away because date rape drugs leave your body quickly. You will also get a medical exam to make sure you don’t have other injuries. The doctor or nurse will test you for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS, and offer you emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. If the doctor or nurse does not mention testing for STDs or emergency contraception, ask for them.
  6. Get emotional support. You may feel terribly shocked, afraid, or even emotionally numb. Whatever you are feeling, talk to people who care about you. Get help from a mental health professional. The hospital usually can put you in touch with a counselor or support group. You can also talk with a hotline counselor.
  7. Talk to your parents or guardians. A counselor can help you talk with your parents or guardians. They may be upset, but that's just because they care about you, but support is still important in these cases and you deserve support from those close to you.

Sexual Violence Help

There are free hotlines that you can call 24 hours a day to get help if you have been sexually assaulted or if you need advice on how to leave an unhealthy relationship.

Assault phone help hotline

National Sexual Assault Hotline:
1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)

National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE ( 1-800-799-7233) or
1-800-787-3224 (TDD)

Girls and Boys Town National Hotline:
1-800-448-3000 or
1-800-448-1833 (TDD)

You can also find local resources, including women's shelters or other services, through your local phone book, a religious center, your school counselor or nurse, or a doctor's office.