Experiencing: Sexual Harassment

So many individuals are sexually harassed or are guilty of sexual harassing others and are not even aware of it. The reason for this post is to bring awareness to sexual harassment in its entirety in order to help prevent it moving forward.

Remember that time a stranger shouted unwanted sexual statements at you in the street? That was sexual harassment.

Remember that time you were in the club and a guy you didn’t know kept touching you and trying to dance with you, so forcefully that you could feel the print of his penis on your back, even though you said “stop?” That was sexual harassment.

Did you know that receiving unwanted ‘dictures’ (penis pictures) or nudes of any sort actually that aren’t asked for or wanted is a form of sexual harassment? Or that asking someone for nudes when they’ve told you no already is also a form of sexual harassment?

Before reaching the most disgusting types of sexual harassment, in my opinion, actual sexual assault or rape, there are other things that individuals do which falls under the category of sexual harassment.

Sexual innuendos, whistling at someone, personal questions about sex life, making sexual gestures, giving “elevator eyes” or licking your lips at someone, unwanted pressure for dates, unwanted pressure for sexual favours, lying or spreading rumours about someone’s sex life… The list is endless.

(If you’d like to see a longer list including examples then please click HERE to visit a page featured on the United Nations website. The page is a PDF file so if you have an iPhone you can open it in iBooks and save it for future reference)

I want to bring awareness to what sexual harassment is as I feel that it has gotten too far! The behaviour has now been normalised by both men and women and individuals are getting away with it. Also, due to the fact that a lot of individuals are ignoring it and not speaking up, individuals are now completely unaware of their boundaries and this is resulting in actual sexual assault. I have witnessed the harassment, been harassed myself and been informed of situations by my peers where they were in fact harassed; all in the sexual nature. It is appalling and shocking but also very sad.

Of course there are some very disgusting individuals in the world who rape and assault others for their pleasure with complete awareness of what they are doing and although it may seem harsh to say, nothing will prevent their behaviour because they are not well! Once they’ve committed or attempted to commit the heinous act then they can be punished (e.g. jailed) to prevent further action but the damage is already done. [I will be talking about rape in more detail in a future post]

However, there are some individuals that aren’t aware that what they are doing is wrong. You’re probably thinking “Shut up Liss people should know better” or “It’s common sense!” but in actuality not everyone knows better and what is common sense to one person may not be the same to another. For example, a young boy aged 15 surrounded by friends speaking about sex may feel pressurised to lie about having sex with a particular girl, not knowing that what he is doing is actually sexual harassment. Another example, guys in a nightclub seeing others around them walking up to a girl and dancing on her without asking will feel that it’s okay for him to do the same. From another point of view, a female being asked to send nudes to a guy again and again may feel pressurised in doing it in the end as a result of constant harassment. It needs to be stopped. For our children, siblings, loved ones and for US!

In order to stop the behaviour we need to speak up. As females we need to be clear about what we will not accept! If we feel harassed we need to say “NO” and remove ourselves from these individuals if they won’t go away themselves. If we don’t feel strong enough to speak up for ourselves to the one causing the problem then we need to put our pride aside to ask for HELP. As females we should help one another when they turn to us in those situations. USE YOUR VOICE! Report the behaviour if it doesn’t stop. Those who cannot hear must feel… The repercussions of their actions! Don’t accept it and definitely don’t be quiet about it.

It is not enough for us females to speak up though. Men also need to speak on it. They need to tell their peers that it is not acceptable behaviour to grope a female (or another male) because they feel like it. They are not entitled to do whatever they like to women without permission and need to be informed of this. Men shouldn’t encourage the behaviour or shrug it off. Please speak up for us too. Speak up for your mother, your sister, your daughter. Also, don’t participate in the behaviour. If you make it known that you don’t agree with it and it is not in fact “cool” then your peers are likely to follow. We all need to stick together. Men are more likely to listen to other men about things like this, sad but true. I mean let’s be realistic, guys don’t really buy fancy cars and designer belts to impress us ladies; they do it to either fit in or look better than one another!

So men and women, lets support the movement by speaking up for ourselves and one another. Independence is great but for a real change we need to unite.

(I’ve tried to generalise as much as possible however this is written from a female’s point of view. Please take it vice versa if you are a man as I am completely aware that women also sexually harass men in the ways mentioned in this post and in no way am I trying to be biased. Thank you)

Thank you for reading and I’ll be back shortly with another post.

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