Bullying and sexual harassment have been around for a long time. Most school-age children experience some form of harassment or know someone who has. It is not unusual for some harassers to be unaware of the fact that their actions hurt others. Depending on the circumstances, people who are harassed can feel anything from mild annoyance to devastating emotional and physical problems.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual Harassment is any repeated, unwelcome physical or verbal advance that is sexual in nature. It is a series of on-going, often daily, events that create a hostile environment for the victim. It can also be a one-time event that makes the victim feel threatened or demeaned sexually.
Any of the following behavior may be sexual harassment: leering, wedgies, pressure for dates, pressing or rubbing against a person, obscene phone calls, bra or towel snapping, wolf whistles, lip-smacking, indecent exposure, calling someone "gay" or "lezzie", displaying sexual materials, sexually explicit gestures, animal noises, sexist jokes, grabbing breasts or buttocks, comments about a person's body, flipping skirts or "pantsing" and soliciting sexual services.
Sexual harassment is NOT FLIRTING.
Flirting makes the recipient feel attractive, happy and flattered.
Sexual Harassment makes the victim feel unattractive, demeaned, and scared. It is unwanted, one-sided, and illegal.
Adults may also experience sexual harassment (in the work place) and a wide range of consequences.
Sexual harassment can be confusing. It helps to talk to someone. If you are being sexually harassed or you want to help someone who is experiencing sexual harassment, contact the Sexual Assault Support Services in your county. Office and hotline numbers are listed on this website. We can help.
* Excerpted from "Sexual Violence and Teenagers" a pamphlet by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.