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Sexual harassment includes: unwelcomed sexual advances; conduct of a sexual nature, or requests for sexual favors that affect a person’s employment, unreasonably interferes with work or school performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Without limiting what can be sexual harassment, generally there are two forms of sexual harassment:
If you are comfortable doing so, communicate clearly and directly to the harasser that their behavior is making you uncomfortable. Be specific about which behaviors they are exhibiting that you want them to stop. Say “No!” clearly and directly. A defining characteristic of sexual harassment is that it makes the recipient UNCOMFORTABLE. You have a right to be free from harassing behavior. Make it more about your feelings and less about theirs. Try something like, “when you tell those jokes, I feel uncomfortable. I feel sexually harassed.” You don’t have to participate in discussions in which they try to rationalize their behavior.
Reinforce your statements with strong, self-respecting body language: eye contact, head up, shoulders back, a strong, serious stance. Don’t smile and don’t try to send this serious message in a joking manner. Timid, submissive body language will undermine your message. If the harassment continues, repeat yourself if you have to. Learn to set your own boundaries. If setting boundaries is new to you, try some role playing with a friend. Practice confronting the problem with your friend playing the role of the harasser. If this kind of response makes you too uncomfortable, consider writing a letter or email message laying out what makes you uncomfortable and what behavior you would like to cease.
Get help and support from your family and friends. Staying silent protects harassers. Individuals subject to harassing behavior can experience anxiety, stress, frustration and feelings of being out of control. They may also have some difficulty carrying out usual responsibilities. They can equally develop a fear of coming to the environment in which this is happening.
Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated due to alcohol, drugs, medication, or some other condition.
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Bel Air, MD 21015-1627
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