What are the signs of being sexually harassed?

Bonnie Lynn Wright, PhD
Geriatrics Nursing

Sexual harassment is a personal thing. What is called sexual harassment by one person may only be harmless flirtation to another. So only you know what harassment is. If your response to another's recurring behavior is negative then its harassment. Your responses could include a stress reaction, a sense of 'don't ever do that again' or anger.

For example, someone at the office tells yet another joke with sexual references. Everyone laughs and contributes other comments to increase the hilarity. You don't laugh. In fact, you think it’s disgusting. And you are sure that the 'someone' who told the joke was using it as on opportunity to get closer to  you. Same joke, same narrator but very different responses. For you, this may have been sexual harassment.

In my experience, a number of cases of sexual harassment are simple misunderstandings. The instigator doesn't realize that they are being offensive and once told, they are more considerate. Problem solved.

On the other hand, there may not be an immediate and easily won resolution. Most companies have policies and procedures to follow for resolving these cases. In a unionized environment, your union rep will also be involved on your behalf.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.