Sexual harassment refers to two distinct types of behavior: (1) the abuse of power for sexual ends and (2) the creation of a hostile environment. In terms of abuse of power, sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature as a condition of instruction or employment. Refusal to comply may result in reprisals. Only a person with power over another can commit the first kind of harassment. In a hostile environment, someone acts in sexual ways that interfere with a person’s performance at school or in the workplace. Such harassment is illegal.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment includes two distinct types of illegal harassment: the abuse of power for sexual ends and the creation of a hostile environment. Sexual harassment may begin as early as middle childhood. In college, about one half of all students have experienced some form of sexual harassment (verbal or physical) since they had enrolled in college.
There are other forms of behavior that, although not illegal, are considered by many to be sexual harassment. Clinical psychologist Elizabeth Powell (1996) lists the following as examples of sexual harassment:
· Verbally harassing or abusing someone
· Exerting subtle pressure for sexual activity
· Making remarks about a person’s clothing, body, or sexual activities
· Leering at or ogling a person’s body
· Engaging in unwelcome touching, patting, or pinching
· Brushing against a person’s body
· Making demands for sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning one’s job or student status
· Physically assaulting someone
Myths About Rape
Our society has a number of myths about rape, which serve to encourage rather than discourage it. Belief in rape myths is part of a larger belief structure that includes gender-role stereotypes, sexual conservatism, acceptance of interpersonal violence, and the belief that men are different from women. Men are more likely than women to believe rape myths (Kalof & Wade, 1995). The following list of 12 common rape myths can clarify misunderstandings about rape:
Myth 1: Rape is a crime of passion.
Myth 2: Women want to be raped.
Myth 3: “But she wanted sex.”
Myth 4: Women ask for it.
Myth 5: She did not fight back or scream.
Myth 6: Women could avoid rape if they really wanted to by curtailing their activities.
Myth 7: Women cry rape for revenge.
Myth 8: Rapists are crazy or psychotic.
Myth 9: Most rapists are a different race/ethnicity than their victims.
Myth 10: Men cannot control their sexual urges.
Myth 11: Rape is “no big deal.”
Myth 12: Men cannot be raped.
Myth 13: Women are raped only by strangers.
Journal: After watching some news and some television shows, including movies and anime. What rape myths are perpetuated by social media, entertainment media, and news outlets? What is the motivation of rapists on TV and in the movies? What “types” of women get raped or sexually assaulted in movies and television? Some research suggests that on TV and in the movies nontraditional women get raped more often than traditional women as a means of putting nontraditional women “in their place.” How does what you saw compare to the research? How do gender stereotypes perpetuate rape culture? and in your experience or opinion what are some ways society can address some of these issues around sexual assault and sexual battery.
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