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Violence against women > Different forms of Violence > Sexual Harassment

About Sexual Harassment

When young men stand on street corners and whistle or pass vulgar comments on girls and women walking by, it is passed off as frivolity. Society called it eve-teasing and the law had recourse only for molestation. As women, we know how annoying it is when there is regular teasing, the deliberate bumping into women, touching breasts in a crowded bus and passing sexual jokes. It can become dangerous like stalking and consistently making phone calls. We have friends who stop attending college or their workplace because they cannot bear it.

It is only recently that this crime was given a name  sexual harassment by womens groups and the Supreme Court.
Sexual harassment includes such sexually determined behaviour such as: physical contact, a demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in which submission to or rejection of such conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's work or school performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or school environment.

There are two types of 2 Types of Sexual Harassment:

1.    Quid pro quo- When a perpetrator makes conditions of employment contingent on the victim providing sexual favours. This type of harassment is less common.

2.    Hostile environment- When unwelcome, severe and persistent sexual conduct on the part of a perpetrator creates an uncomfortable and hostile environment (e.g., jokes, lewd postures, leering, inappropriate touching, rape, etc.). This type of harassment constitutes up to 95% of all sexual harassment cases. 

Variety of Circumstances:

-Survivor and harasser do not have to be of different genders; both can be men, both women, or they can be different genders.

-Similarly, as with sexual assault, women can be perpetrators.

-The harasser can be a supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.

-The survivor does not have to be the person that is directly harassed. It can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

-Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the survivor.
The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.

***If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual harassment, seek help from family members, friends, or community organizations. Learn more about how to get help for sexual harassment from Section II

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