What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature that makes you feel distressed, intimidated or humiliated. It can take lots of different forms. It can include or be called sexualised bullying.
You don't have to have objected to a certain kind of behaviour in the past for it to be unwanted and constitute harassment.
Sexual harassment can include:
- someone making sexually degrading comments or gestures
- your body being stared or leered at
- being subjected to sexual jokes or propositions
- e-mails or text messages with sexual content
- physical behaviour, including unwelcome sexual advances and touching
- someone displaying sexually explicit pictures in your space or a shared space, like at work
- offers of rewards in return for sexual favours
Although sexual harassment happens everywhere, it is common at work. It can cause stress and hostility in the workplace, and over time, it can lead to physical and emotional problems, like headaches, nausea, cystitis, depression, anxiety, problems sleeping and eating, and loss of self-confidence. Many women end up leaving their job rather than have to carry on enduring sexual harassment.