Sexual harassment is widespread all over the world and has a profound impact on women. Sexual harassment ranges from derogatory comments to unwanted sexual advances and threats to sexual assault, and rape. Harassment can have particularly negative consequences for workers in low-wage jobs because these workers can least afford to have their livelihoods threatened.
Where laws surrounding sexual harassment exist, they generally do not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or minor isolated incidents. In the workplace, harassment may be considered illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted, or when the victim decides to quit the job). The legal and social understanding of sexual harassment, however, varies by culture.
It includes a range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or sexual assault. Sexual harassment is a form of illegal employment discrimination in many countries, and is a form of abuse (sexual and psychological) and bullying. For many businesses and other organizations, preventing sexual harassment, and defending employees from sexual harassment charges, has become key goals of legal decision-making.
Sexual harassment may occur in a variety of circumstances—in workplaces as varied as corporate offices, factories, school, academia, etc. Often, but not always, the perpetrator is in a position of power or authority over the victim (due to differences in age, or social, political, educational or employment relationships) or expecting to receive such power or authority in form of promotion. Forms of harassment relationships include:
- -The perpetrator can be anyone, such as a client, a co-worker, a parent or legal guardian, relative, a teacher or professor, a student, a friend, or a stranger.
- -The victim does not have to be the person directly harassed but can be a witness of such behavior who finds the behavior offensive and is affected by it.
- -The incident can take place in situations in which the harassed person may not be aware of or understand what is happening.
With the advent of the Internet, social interactions, including sexual harassment, increasingly occur online. According to the 2014 PEW research statistics on online harassment, 25% of women and 13% of men between the ages of 18 and 24 have experienced sexual harassment while online.
Some of the psychological and health effects that can occur in someone who has been sexually harassed as a result of stress and humiliation: depression, anxiety and/or panic attacks, sleeplessness and/or nightmares, shame and guilt, difficulty concentrating, headaches, fatigue or loss of motivation, stomach problems, eating disorders (weight loss or gain), alcoholism, feeling betrayed and/or violated, feeling angry or violent towards the perpetrator, feeling powerless or out of control, increased blood pressure, loss of confidence and self-esteem, withdrawal and isolation, overall loss of trust in people, traumatic stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts or attempts, suicide.
Is it not for us to raise our voice and stop this criminal offence?
Let us take a pledge and STOP Sexual Harassment.