How to Handle Sexual Harassment?

If you think you’re being harassed, don’t blame yourself. People who harass or bully can be very manipulative. They are often really good at blaming the other person — and even at making victims blame themselves. But no one has the right to sexually harass or bully anyone else, no matter what. There is no such thing as “asking for it.”

There’s no single “right” way to respond to sexual harassment. Each situation is unique. It often can be helpful to start by telling the person doing the harassing to stop. Let him or her know that this behaviour is not OK with you. Sometimes that will be enough, but not always. The harasser may not stop. He or she might even laugh off your request, tease you, or bother you more.

That’s why it’s important to share what’s happening with an adult you trust. Is there a parent, relative, coach, or teacher you can talk to? More and more schools have a designated person who’s there to talk about bullying issues, so find out if there’s someone at your school.

Most schools have a sexual harassment policy or a bullying policy to protect you. Ask a guidance counsellor, school nurse, or administrator about your school’s policy. If you find the adult you talk to doesn’t take your complaints seriously at first, you may have to repeat yourself or find someone else who will listen. Keep doing until you can solve it.

There’s no doubt it can feel embarrassing to talk about sexual harassment at first. But that uncomfortable feeling quickly wears off after a minute or so of conversation. In most cases, telling someone sooner leads to faster results and fewer problems down the line, so it’s worth it.

It can help to keep a record of the events that have happened. Write down dates and short descriptions in a journal. Save any offensive pictures, videos, texts, or IMs as evidence. ( Because, if you do not have evidence, the bad one will win, which we definitely do not wish for. ) That way you’ll have them if your school or family has to take legal action. To avoid going through feeling upset all over again, save this evidence someplace where you don’t have to see it every day.

Advertisements