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Sexual Harassment

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment refers to bullying or harassment of a person of sexual nature like request for sexual favors, unwanted sexual advances, creating conditions with sexual intent or any other verbal or physical harassment of sexual nature. It ranges from mild advance to severe sexual assault. It can occur in home, school, college, place of work, religious place etc.

The victim

Victim can be a single person or many people. Usually victim is one on whom harasser can exert influence. It can be one time incident or repeated. Both males and females can be victims.

Who is the harasser?

Most of the harasser bully and take advantage of position and power. Harasser can be stranger, boss, coworker, guardian, teacher, friend, room mate, warden, guide or guru. Both males and females can be harasser.

Types of harassment:

Public harassment – Where harassment done on one or more in presence of others.

Private harassment – Where a restrained public image is maintained and in private it changes to harassment.

Types of harassers:

  • Predatory harasser  – They seek prey and gets sexual thrills from humiliating the victim.
  • Dominant harasser  – They harass the victim and get ego boost as reward.
  • Strategic harasser – They design strategies to victimize. These are mostly private harasser.
  • Territorial harasser- They have a territory like boss in office or teacher in class or warden in hostel. The victim feels no where to go and suffer.

Prevention of harassment

  • Do not feel weak or helpless
  • Prevent early
  • Do not give ‘opportunity’
  • Confident body language will keep them away
  • Do not tolerate
  • Raise voice
  • Say clear and strong NO
  • Attend workshops or help groups

Effect of sexual harassment

  • Mild annoyance
  • Stress and anger
  • Insecurity and PTSD
  • Guilt and shame
  • Loss of trust
  • Depression
  • Social problems
  • Falling performance
  • Deteriorating personality
  • Loss – financial, job, education
  • Health problems
  • Feeling of loss of honor
  • Defamation of character
  • Public humiliation
  • Isolation in society
  • Retaliation on making complaint

Management

  • Gather yourself
  • Support from family and friends
  • Counseling and psychotherapy
  • Stress management
  • Support groups