Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment encompasses many actions and behaviors including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other various verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. Sexual harassment can happen anywhere, but is mainly seen and experienced at a school or place of employment.

Sexual harassment can come in many forms and may not always be apparently obvious, but no matter what, it is never okay. Anyone can be a victim or harasser no matter their gender or sexual orientation. In addition, the victim and harasser can have any relationship with each other, including being a direct manager, indirect supervisor, coworker, teacher, student, dating partner, friend, or peer. If you have information on suspected sexual harassment, we encourage you to use Friends for Life and send in an anonymous report. 

Did You Know?

  • 81% of women and 43% of men have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lifetime.
  • Most people who experience sexual harassment, experience it in the form of verbal harassment (77% women and 34% men). 
  • Every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.
  • A majority (54%) of sexual assault victims are between the ages of 18 and 34.

Flirting v. Sexual Harassment:

  • Flirting is welcomed attention that both people enjoy and agree to; Sexual Harassment is unwelcomed attention that one person has not agreed to and does not want
  • Flirting feels “good” while sexual harassment feels “bad.”
  • Flirting is a compliment while sexual harassment is degrading.
  • Flirting makes you feel in control while sexual harassment makes you feel powerless.
  • Flirting makes you feel attractive while sexual harassment makes you feel unattractive.

What is Consent?

  • Consent is an ongoing mutual agreement between partners about what they want to experience.
  • When engaged in a healthy relationship, all partners are able to honestly and openly agree to what kind of activity they are comfortable with. 
  • Some may think asking for consent is awkward or a “mood killer”, but many times asking for consent can actually create a more positive and romantic experience for those involved. 
  • Remember that consent is ongoing and that consent in one moment does not equal consent in the next moment; consent in the past is not consent for the future.
  • Consent means communicating every step of the way, don’t assume the other person is okay with every action.
  • Consent requires an enthusiastic “yes”. A “maybe” is NOT a yes.
  • Asking for consent may look like the following:
    • “Are you comfortable?”
    • “Is this okay?”
    • “Do you want to slow down?”
    • “Do you want to go any further?”
  • Just because someone dresses a certain way, is flirting, accepting a ride/gift, or doing a favor does NOT mean they are giving someone their consent.
  • Someone under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or otherwise incapacitated CANNOT give consent.
  • Watch this short video to see the similarities in offering someone tea and asking consent!

Recognizing Sexual Harassment:

  • Sexual harassment can be presented in various forms; below are some examples:
    • Physical sexual assault.
    • Requests for sexual favors.
    • Any unwanted touching or physical contact.
    • Discussing sexual relations/stories/fantasies at work, school, or in other inappropriate places.
    • Displaying sexually suggestive pictures or objects.
    • Questions about one’s sexual behavior.
    • Demeaning references to one’s gender.
    • Verbal harassment of a sexual nature, including jokes referring to sexual acts or sexual orientation.

Being a Positive Bystander:

  • Be direct - if it’s safe to do so, let the person who is being hurtful know that you disapprove and they should stop.
  • Distract -  use some sort of question or statement to redirect the conversation/situation so that you can help the victim remove themselves from the situation.
  • Delegate someone - sometimes it’s either too hard or unsafe to intervene yourself and you should delegate to a higher authority (i.e., a parent, police, teacher, trusted authority figure, etc.).
  • Submit an anonymous report about sexual harassment to Friends for Life.

Resources

  • 1in6
    • 1-877-628-1in6 (1466)
    • www.1in6.org
    • The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences live healthier, happier lives.
  • MaleSurvivor
    • www.malesurvivor.org
    • Committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.
  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center
  • RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
    • 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • Texas Advocacy Project
    • 1-800-374-HOPE (4673)
    • https://www.texasadvocacyproject.org/
    • Mission is to empower the public and survivors of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Texas through free legal services, access to the justice system, and education and prevention.
  • Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
  • The Women’s Center of Tarrant County
    • Rape Crisis & Victim Services Hotline: 817-927-4039
    • Fort Worth Location: 
      • 1723 Hemphill St., Fort Worth, TX 76104
      • 817-927-4040
    • Arlington Location:
      • 401 W. Sanford St., Ste. 1200, Arlington, TX 76011
      • 817-548-1663

Sources