Sexual harassment involves any unwanted sexual behaviour, which may include comments gestures or attention that intimidates, hurts, or offends the person it is directed to. It can be directed towards a person’s appearance, body parts, sexual orientation, or even a person’s sexual history.
Sometimes, it can be quite obvious leaving the targeted person feeling threatened or scared but this isn’t always the case. Sexual harassment, done to both women and men, can also be subtle. Here are three indirect ways you could be sexually harassed at work, which is one of the top three places where sexual harassment usually happens:
Lewd ‘jokes’ or ‘compliments’:
Most offices usually have that overly friendly colleague who doesn’t think it is a big deal to say how nice your bum looks in denim jeans or how she likes your broad chest in a polo. They usually do not see their behaviour as flirting or inappropriate, but that is exactly what it is. You are being sexually harassed whenever your colleague starts making sexual jokes about your body or jokes about sex with you, directly or indirectly.
Suggestive emails, texts or inappropriate images:
Sexual harassment isn’t always physical or verbal. These days, emails and texts have made communication in the workplace easy and the same goes for sexual harassment. You can now be harassed through emails or texts by your collagues with just a click. Sexual harassment still has the same effect regardless of how it is done.
Inappropriate physical gestures or facial expressions:
No matter how close you are with your colleagues, some physical gestures remain sexually inappropriate. Tight hugs, rubbing or caressing a person’s body or clothing, making sexually suggestive facial expressions are all wrong. These gestures are not professional.
These are just a few examples of subtle sexual harassment. If someone at your workplace is constantly exhibiting these behaviours and they make you feel uncomfortable, then you should let them know how you feel, or confide in someone as soon as possible.