What is Sexual Harassment?

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment refers to any act of a sexual nature that causes discomfort in and is unwelcomed by the recipient. In other words, if a person makes any sexual advance (be it verbal, or physical) on another person who because uncomfortable because of this. Simply rejecting sexual advances does not make them harassment.

Sexual harassment can be anything from a wolf-whistle, to hand gestures, to touching another person. In any case, sexual harassment is committed by the ‘giver’, and is NEVER the fault of the recipient.

Sexual Assault is defined by person A intentionally touching person B in a sexual manner where this is unwanted, and

Sexual harassment also encompasses rape. According to the Sexual Offences Act (2003), rape is committed when person A intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus, or mouth of person B with any part of their body or any object when person B does not give clear consent to this act, or where person A does not reasonably believe that person B has given clear consent. Clear consent refers to a clear ‘Yes’- when person B doesn’t explicitly say ‘No’, there is no implication that they have automatically said ‘Yes’. This includes cases whereby person B is unable to say ‘No’ through a disability, substance use (e.g. alcohol, drugs, etc.), or for any other reason.

Rape and sexual assault are criminal offences and the perpetrator is liable to imprisonment for life if found guilty.

If you are being attacked you have every right to protect yourself. You may use any amount of reasonable force to do this- if it comes to fighting for your life, fight for it. If you are able to get any of the perpetrator’s hair or skin under your fingernails, do so as this can help if you decide to report the crime to the police.