Sexual Harassment Is Never OK
September 23, 2014
In a society obsessed with “blurring lines,” it is important for us to know what sexual harassment is and how to prevent it. You may think you know what it means to harass someone, and you would never do it. Right? It isn’t like you’re a flasher or anything! Well, sometimes you may not realize that something is considered sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is the unwelcome sexual advances or comments that make another person feel uncomfortable. These advances can prevent a person from feeling safe in any environment, especially places a person has to be, like school or work. Sexual harassment can happen between friends, relatives and even partners.
For example, imagine you see your friend walking in the hallway. By way of greeting, you smack your friend’s butt. I see people do things like this all the time in school, and while it can be funny, it’s important to know your friend is OK with it first. Even people you have a good relationship with may have an issue with an action like that, and if they seem uncomfortable or say something about it, stop. If they are not consenting, it is sexual harassment.
Here’s another scenario. You, being attracted to, say, girls, make a sexual comment to a guy friend. It’s not as if you mean it. You’re only kidding, and you don’t even like guys. It doesn’t matter. Regardless of the sexual orientation of either party, making uninvited comments of a sexual nature to someone who has not given consent is still sexual harassment, and it’s wrong.
We’ve heard it a thousand times: “Think before you speak.” But when it comes to things such as sexual harassment, there’s no wiggle room. Before deciding to try something that may possibly make someone uncomfortable, think about it and check with the person first! If you’ve made someone uncomfortable due to what you’ve said or done, then you need to apologize and stop immediately. Continuing to behave in these ways after someone expresses discomfort is crossing the line. There’s nothing blurry about it.