Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment takes many forms, from constant joking to physical assault. It happens when a person with power abuse that power to intimidate, coerce, or humiliate someone because of gender or sexual preference. It may involve threats that you will lose your job or not be promoted, or that you will fall in class. Sexual harassment creates confusion because the boundary between professional roles and personal relationships is blurred. Your co-workers, supervisors, professors, or fellow students may make your work or learning environment uncomfortable because the harasser has introduced a sexual element into what should be a collegial situation.

According to guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Commission, the following behavior constitutes sexual harassment:

  • submission to sexual advances is a condition of your employment or education;
  • acceptance or rejection of these advances or comments affects your job status, grades, or professional advancement; or
  • unwelcome sexual advances or comments interfere with your work or study.

Levels of Harassment

  • Gender harassment—generalized sexist remarks and behavior that convey insulting, degrading, or sexist attitudes
  • Seductive behavior—unwanted, inappropriate, and offensive physical or verbal sexual advances
  • Sexual bribery—solicitation of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by prose of reward
  • Sexual coercion—coercion of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by threat of punishment
  • Sexual assault—assault or rape

Common Forms of Harassment

  • Insistent invitations for drinks, dinner, or dates
  • Unwanted touching
  • Obvious sexual gestures
  • Uninvited visits to someone’s hotel room during conferences
  • Offensive graffiti
  • Threats of physical assault
  • Sending lewd cartoons, cards, presents, letters, or texts
  • Subtle or overt pressure for sexual interactions
  • Assault and rape
  • Sexist comments

Common Reactions to Harassment

  • Changing college or graduate school major
  • Leaving job, college, or city
  • Depression, anxiety, loss of self-esteem
  • Headaches, nausea, weight loss or gain, insomnia, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders
  • Stress in relationships with co-workers, friends, and family

Brooklyn. All in.