What is Sexual Harassment?
Rape Crisis England and Wales defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual behaviour that makes someone feel upset, scared, offended or humiliated, or is meant to make them feel that way.
Sexual harassment is not a compliment. It is about power and intimidation.
This can include:
Attempted or completed rape and/or sexual assault
Pressuring somebody into engaging in sexual acts/favours
Deliberate and unwanted touching
Unwanted sexual gestures, looks or intrusive staring
Taking a photo or video under another person's clothing – what is known as 'upskirting'.
Sending unwanted emails, texts or DMs of a sexual nature
Intrusive questions, name-calling, jokes or remarks of a sexual nature (e.g. constantly asking someone about their sexual preferences.)
Making comments about someone’s body, appearance or what they’re wearing
Indecent exposure, including ‘cyber-flashing’ (sending explicit pictures of oneself without consent.)
Unwanted physical contact of a sexual manner (e.g. brushing up against someone.)
Stalking and online harassment
How to help someone being harassed
If you see someone being harassed, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. This sends a message to the offender that their behaviour is acceptable and tells the victim that no-one will help.
One way to help defuse the situation is by providing a distraction that doesn’t acknowledge the harasser (e.g. asking the target for the time or directions, pretending you know them or accidentally dropping your possessions near them.) For more information on how to help someone being sexually harassed, read Hollaback’s! Bystander Guide.
Some people feel empowered to call out their harasser by using direct statements such as ‘Stop.’ ‘That’s inappropriate.’ ‘Women don’t like that.’ ‘No thank you.’ However, there is no right way to respond to being harassed. Do what feels right for you in the situation.
What steps/actions can you take after being subjected to sexual harassment?
We have a zero-tolerance approach at London Met to any and all forms of sexual violence, including sexual harassment. No-one deserves sexual violence or abuse. It is never the victims’ fault. Blame always lies with the perpetrator.
If you have experienced sexual violence and would like to seek help from the university, you can report a safeguarding concern here.
Additonally, you can contact us at The Advice Service, were are here to listen and support you. You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can fill out our Contact us form
Call 999 if you are in immediate danger or require emergency help.
For external support:
Rape Crisis England and Wales
The Survivors’ Trust
Our Streets Now
National Stalking Helpline
Revenge Porn Helpline
Written by Kerrie Draghi and Mim Hossain