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What is “sexual harassment”?

 

What is considered sexual harassment in civilized countries?

It is not only the rapist’s desire for sexual intercourse; it is not only the threat, in which the victim is offered either to submit to sexual demands or to suffer from consequences, but also includes jokes, anecdotes, hints, and indecent touches that are unacceptable.

 

Sexual harassment is defined as:

 

Sexual offers, the requirements of “sexual services”, and other “verbal” or physical acts of a sexual nature, put forward as a condition for hiring or retaining work;

When the forced consent, or refusal, from such proposals becomes decisive in making a decision on hiring or retaining work;

When the purpose, or result, of such actions is to influence the productivity of labor or create an intimidating, hostile or insulting situation in the workplace.

 

The problem of sexual harassment in the workplace is currently being given increasing attention by the media and the public

The problem of sexual harassment in the workplace is currently being given increasing attention by the media and the public

Actions of a sexual nature include:

 

Unpleasant or unwanted actions and suggestions, including sexual (that is, pats on any part of the body, tingling, stroking, hugging, kissing and petting), or any other similar physical contact, performed without one’s desire.

Unwanted requests and demands of a sexual nature. These are bright or weakly expressed expectations, and sexual requirements, regardless of whether they are accompanied by an implied or open promise of benefits or negative consequences for the service.

Verbal insults or jokes, including verbal abuse and jokes of a sexual nature, that are unpleasant. This includes statements about nationality, race, figure or appearance, and hints or actions of a sexual content, that are unpleasant and offensive to others.

Creation of an intimidating, hostile, insufferable, or insulting work environment by unpleasant or unwanted conversations, suggestions, requests, demands, physical contact or expressions of attention, sexual or other inappropriate content for employees.

 

18% of respondents believe that the environment and working conditions do not contribute to sexual harassment

18% of respondents believe that the environment and working conditions do not contribute to sexual harassment

 

The problem of sexual harassment in the workplace is currently being given increasing attention by the media and the public. In the very concept, there is nothing fundamentally new. However, in the past, it was considered a personal problem or was simply denied, and left its victims with no choice but to be dismissed.

The greatest risk of sexual harassment is in small businesses, and where there are no trade unions. New workers are also easy prey, as they are more afraid than others of losing their jobs, as they have not yet settled in their new positions. Women working in enterprises with predominantly male staff are the least protected. In this situation, men usually use sexual harassment as a way of not allowing a woman to advance in the service.

The history of sexual harassment in the United States began in the past, especially with American women of African descent. In 1912, an article tells about a black nurse, on her first job as a chef, when a restaurant owner approached her with kisses. The rape of black women by white men in slavery were a common case.

With the second wave of the women’s movement, women began to speak out against sexual harassment in 1979. The first government regulations appeared in 1980.

 

Statistics (USA)

 

In 1981 and in 1988, the US Office for the Protection of Labor Achievements conducted a study and concluded that 42% of women were affected by sexual harassment at work.

Headache, insomnia, high blood pressure, nervous breakdowns, feelings of insecurity, and humiliation is the list of the victims' troubles

Headache, insomnia, high blood pressure, nervous breakdowns, feelings of insecurity, and humiliation is the list of the victims’ troubles

The popular women’s magazine, Redbook, in a 1980 poll confirmed that 80% of women experienced sexual harassment at work. As for working women in major American universities, 5% said they had received open sex offers and 10% said they were touched, grabbed or kissed; and in addition, 15% reported other forms of such behavior.

Less than 20% of all respondents reported this to the leadership, 30% were afraid that it would hurt them, and 24% did not want to harm the offender. Only 3% made an attempt to complain. Most women felt that they would not be believed, and did not want to create problems.

 

Causes of sexual harassment

 

Coercion to sex does not happen for the sake of sex, as such, but is a matter of power and subordination. Therefore, when we discuss sexual harassment, the key words are power and discrimination. Coercion to sex is one of the most sophisticated methods of abuse of power.

A woman is made to understand: know your place, you are above all a Woman and should be used in this capacity. Studies show that the public does not have a common opinion about what actions can be considered sexual harassment.

18% of respondents believe that the environment and working conditions do not contribute to sexual harassment. 17% hold the opinion that there is no need to force women into intimacy—they voluntarily go for it, if there is a chance for it.

15% noted that the customs and rules of conduct in their teams are quite strict that men are afraid to cross the line.

 

Consequences of sexual harassment

 

Sexual harassment is very similar to a sexual assault. It can cause fear, and confusion, and have long-term psychological consequences.

Headache, insomnia, high blood pressure, nervous breakdowns, feelings of insecurity, and humiliation is the list of the victims’ troubles. Both the physical and moral consequences of the experience can be quite serious.

Sexual harassment can adversely affect the work of victims and may manifest itself in the deterioration of working conditions.

The worst consequences of sexual harassment for women, who refused to have sex with their boss and were forced to leave work, were unbearable working conditions and inability to fulfill their professional duties. All other consequences are mentioned as less important.

 

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