What is sexual harassment and domestic violence?
Sexual harassment is behaviors a person might be exposed to such as unwelcoming sexual advances or requests for sexual favors several times without consent. Millions of people, ranging from ages to genders, have all experienced some kind of harassment. In fact, sexual predators in today’s world are everywhere. Despite this, it is very critical as harassment is conduct that affects a person's employment or education or interferes with a person’s work or educational performance. Not stopping there, environments are also affected upon as people can find it intimidating, hostile, or even offensive when these actions occur. Below are some of the kinds of harassment that take forms.
Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault: The term rape defines the action of involving penetration without the other’s consent.
Unwanted sexual looks or gestures: The action of looking or giving gestures directed at another individual to satisfy oneself sexually without consent.
Unwanted letters, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature: This tends to occur when a person is forced or tricked into seeing another person’s sexual nature in any form without their wanting.
Referring to an adult as a “girl”, hunk (male), doll, babe, or honey: These are sexualized pronouns that are offending if one is being called without consent.
Catcalls: Making whistles, shouts, or comments of a sexual nature to a person passing by.
Domestic violence is also another common type of predation that also occurs regularly. A basic definition for this would be having the purpose of which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girl/boyfriend or intimate family member. Abuse is a learned behavior. Psychology, children who witness their family members executing abuse have chances of growing up mimicking the same behaviours. Besides this, there are also triggers by influences such as anger, mental problems, drugs and alcohol. Similarly to sexual harassment, domestic violence also has different types, mainly the different levels/perspective that person could be affected from the abuse. The most common ones are:
Where does it happen?
Sexual harassment can happen anywhere. Overall, the top three locations where women reported sexual harassment was in a public space (68%), at work-including temporary jobs and internships (38%), and at home (35%). For men, the most frequently reported locations were in public (19%), at school (14%), and for 13% of men, at work, home, and by phone or text. One in 10 women and one in 20 men said they tried to change their job assignments or quit their jobs to avoid harassment. However, only one in 10 women and one in 20 men filed an official complaint to an authority figure or the police about harassment. Many sexual harassment victims are scared to report harassment because they feel shame about what they’ve experienced. Typically, victims feel powerless and if the harassment comes from someone who has more power like their supervisor, they have the tendency to blame themselves for what happened. Therefore, they avoid filing a report to stay out of any trouble that could occur.
Domestic violence is a serious issue that also happens everywhere. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. However, like sexual harassment, many cases of domestic violence don’t get reported due to the victim being fearful or because they believe the abuse they receive is normal. A person may not know what a healthy relationship looks like, perhaps from growing up in an environment where abuse was common, and they may not recognize that their relationship is unhealthy.
Why is it wrong?
Sexual harassment and domestic violence are wrong for many reasons. For one, it violates formal equality principles. Formal equality advocates for the neutral treatment of all people based on the norms of the dominant group in society. Abusing people and forcing unwelcome behaviors upon them goes against these principles. Sexual harassment damages the lives, health, prospects, financial independence, and opportunities of its victims. Experiencing sexual harassment may cause some survivors to face emotional, physical, or mental health concerns. Especially with domestic violence, 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence. Seeing this type of violence occur during childhood plays a huge role in shaping the adult they become. If they see it every day, they either grow up thinking it’s normal or they are scarred for life and avoid human interaction. Either way, it takes a huge toll on them and many of them grow up with mental health problems. More awareness is needed upon this topic so that victims and survivors have the courage to speak out and work through their trauma.
If you are or know anyone experiencing these problems please, don’t be afraid to reach out and speak to someone.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
Editor: Kenny and Ally