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Sexual Harassment

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Nothing is foolproof, but there are research-proven changes companies could make. To start with, having more women employees, particularly in leadership roles, can reduce the incidence of harassment. Why? It’s not that women are somehow themselves preventing the behavior—in fact women too can be perpetrators—but that male-dominated organizations are more likely to have cultures characterized by aggressive and competitive behaviors and so-called locker-room culture. In addition, compared with women, men tend to have more trouble recognizing when women are being treated in an unfair or sexist way. This sets the stage for harassment: In such contexts, norms of professionalism can give way to boorish interactions in which women are treated as sexualized pawns rather than as valued and competent work colleagues. And if men are less likely to label what their male colleagues are doing as inappropriate, it can make matters worse. What’s more is that in these hyper masculine settings, when women…

When I was 14 I met an older teen online who sexually assaulted me. I had never been kissed and he was licking my teeth as I gripped my teeth to keep him out. He was obese and huge. I was small and underweight. He shoved his hands up my shirt and down my pants. He used his body to hold me down. I felt like I was watching it from above instead of it happening to me. He said, “what did you expect wearing pants that tight?” As I was pushing him away, I peed my pants. My flat mate has been harassing me lately and it brought up this dark locked up memory, so I thought to upload my feelings about it. “One of the most violated I’ve ever felt was when you sat next to me on the sofa when we were alone and said, “I’ve seen…

Sexual assault is a seriously under-reported crime. Victims and survivors do not report their assault to law enforcement for several reasons; such as, fear of retaliation from perpetrators; feelings of shame and embarrassment; a belief that the rape, abuse or harassment was a minor incident and not a police matter; and a concern that police and prosecutors would question their veracity and credibility. Victims who report the crime and are willing to cooperate with police and prosecutors as the case moves forward may encounter criminal justice officials who are skeptical of their allegations and who question their credibility. Sadly, victims experience these negative outcomes all too often. There is much to be done, there is much that can be done if sexual assault is to be treated as the violent crime it is and if victims of sexual assault are to be treated with respect and dignity. We had a…

Secondary victimization is characterized by engagement in victim-blaming attitudes, behaviors, and practices, which result in additional trauma for sexual assault survivors. Secondary victimization minimizes the significance of a crime, which leads to apathetic and discriminative attitudes. Far-reaching political, legal, and social implications result from these attitudes, ranging from low conviction rates for sexual assault cases, to victims’ hindered psychological recovery. In order to combat secondary victimization, it is vital to understand and then challenge these prejudicial attitudes. Some of the elements that influence secondary victimization including hyper-masculinity, gender-traditionality (GRT), relationship closeness, the participant gender, level of belief in a just world, and religiosity on victim-blame attribution are explored below: Hyper-Masculinity. One factor that influences secondary victimization is attitudes around hyper-masculinity and gender-role traditionality. Research has found that males are more likely than females to blame a victim. An explanation is that females tend to empathize with victims, whereas males often…

For victims of rape, sexual abuse or sexual assault, especially those who are courageous enough to brave the trauma and stigma to bring their case to trial, undergoing the rigors of a trial especially facing their perpetrator and reliving the terrible ordeal, can be quite overwhelming. This is why it is necessary to dispel some of the myths and focus on some of the truths of what victims of rape or sexual assault can expect from the justice system. It is necessary to state at this point that some of the issues which will be discussed are what would transpire in an ideal setting where the justice system works as seamlessly as it should. In Nigeria, cases of sexual assault that actually go to trial are very minimal in relation to actual cases of sexual assault. This makes discussing what to expect at trial a bit difficult as there are…

What details do children these days need to know? And how much freedom should headteachers have to decide? The need to improve sex and relationship education in school and at home comes as the number of sexual assaults experienced by children and teenagers from adults and their peers continues to rise. Young people must be taught the importance of healthy and stable relationships, and what exploitative relationships look like. We all know that children, teenagers and young adults experience sexual harassment and violence, and online they are exposed to images and content which can be very disturbing and addictive. Hence, it is vital that schools and parents give children the information they need about sex, consent and healthy relationships. Sex education varies from family to family and school to school, so people’s experiences are different. Does sex Ed really fulfill its course name? most of the time, no it does…

“Everyone in my life took my rape as lightly as a brief thunderstorm that might have been frightening when it happened, but was easy to forget about. I adopted that mentality as the foundation of my sex life. I would, time and time again, treat sex as flimsily as it started. I would give it away as if it was cheap, second-hand junk, rather than a prize that deserved to be earned.” – A  Survivor. Many survivors find that their sexual attitudes and reactions are impacted after sexual assault. While these effects are not permanent, they can be very frustrating as they can decrease the enjoyment of one’s sexual life and intimacy with others for some time. Fortunately, even if one does not actively work on sexual healing, as the sexual assault heals, the sexual symptoms will diminish. Experiencing sexual symptoms after sexual assault is not only very common, but…

If you’ve ever had to deal with a workplace sexual harassment complaint, you know how tricky they can be. Sexual harassment in the workplace may be defined as a form of sex/gender discrimination against another that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile, toxic or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision. One common element of the federal and most state laws is that an employee must first complain about the harassment. The process of making the sexual harassment complaint is often detailed in an employment or personnel handbook that the employee should have received upon joining the organization. What should a company not do when it receives a sexual harassment complaint? Discipline the Victim of Sexual Harassment Oftentimes, a company’s…

The only person responsible for committing sexual assault is a perpetrator; however, everyone has the ability to look out for one another’s safety. Whether it’s giving someone a safe ride home from a party or directly confronting a person who is engaging in threatening behaviour towards someone else, anyone can help prevent sexual violence. A bystander is an individual who is present when a violent incident, such as sexual assault, takes place but isn’t directly involved. Bystanders might be present when rape, harassment or abuse occurs—or they could witness the circumstances that led up to these crimes, and thus potentially are in a position to discourage, prevent, or interrupt an incident. You may have heard the term “Bystander Intervention”. This is the act of feeling empowered and equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively assist in the prevention of sexual violence. The intervention act doesn’t have to jeopardize the safety of…

The terms sexual assault and sexual violence are often used interchangeably, however, both terms are used to describe a wide variety of abuses. Rape is a term that is used to describe forced penetration, but forced touch is also a serious crime. Penetration may be of the victim or forcing the victim to penetrate the perpetrator; penetration can be accomplished with either a body part or an object. Similarly, contact can be sexual contact with the victim or forcing a victim to touch the perpetrator. Date/Acquaintance Rape This is an unwanted, coerced and/or forced sexual penetration that occurs between people who are known to each other. This relationship may be a dating relationship, a blind date or “hook up.” They may know one another well or only briefly. The issue is not identifying who the perpetrator is; but rather, identifying how force or coercion is manifested. Intimate Partner Sexual Violence…