Marissa Pansoy

Analysis of Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment is one of the biggest problems facing our schools and businesses today. A week rarely goes by without a reminder of the pervasiveness of sexual harassment as a social problem. Sexual harassment is a growing problem in the government agencies, schools, and the corporations of the world; however, many corporations are now adopting new anti-harassment policies.(Conta) The definition of sexual harassment is any unwanted or inappropriate sexual attention. That includes touching, looks, comments, or gestures. A key part of sexual harassment is that it is one sided and unwanted. There is a great difference between sexual harassment and romance or friendship, since those are mutual feelings of two people. Often sexual harassment makes the victim feel guilty, but it is important for the victim to remember that it is not their fault, the fault lies totally on the person who is the harasser. Many times fear is involved in sexual harassment because it isn’t about physical attraction, it’s about power. In fact, many sexual harassment incidents take place when one person is in a position of power over the other; or when a woman has an untraditional job such as a police officer, factory worker, business executive, or any other traditionally male job. Typical victims of harassment are young, single, college-educated, members of a minority racial or ethnic group (if male), in a trainee position (or office/ clerical positions if male), or have an immediate supervisor of the opposite sex. (Cq researcher 542) Presently, it is hard for courts and others to decide when sexual harassment has taken place because the definition of sexual harassment is much too broad. Clearing up the legal definition of sexual harassment would discourage and punish harassers and bring comfort to the victims. Here are some points to remember in deciding when sexual harassment takes place: Sexual harassment is one-sided and unwelcome. * It is about power and not attraction. * It happens over and over again. * It gets worse. * Subtle sexual behavior is sometimes socially acceptable, but some would consider it offensive and want it stopped. * Moderate sexual behavior is not socially acceptable, reasonable people would want it stopped. * Severe sexual behavior is never acceptable. (Swisher 28) Sexual harassment is a major problem in public schools, colleges, and universities. Surveys on college campuses show the number of respondents reporting to have been sexually harassed ranging from 40-70 percent. Only two percent of campus harassment cases involve a professor demanding sex in return for a good grade. Most cases involve male and female students. In public schools current sexual harassment definitions are inappropriate, since bad sexual behavior of today’s children isn’t sexual harassment, but it is a reflection of the vulgar, violent, and the sexually explicit nature of our media and culture. When little six-year-old children get suspended from school for kissing girls on the cheek, it is not an example of sexual harassment but of political correctness gone wild. Sexual harassment is still a big problem in schools and every school district in Washington now has an antiharassment policy. “Junior high or middle school has the biggest problem with sexual harassment mainly because of their immaturity and out-of-control hormones”. Says Viki Simmons of the YWCA. “Many times in high school, students don’t think anything about it when harassment happens, but schools are now cracking down on it”. (Simmons interview) In the business world employers are now on notice that sexual harassment will no longer be tolerated in the workplace. Claims brought against alleged harassers include wrongful termination, invasion of privacy, violation of due process and free speech rights, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Sexual harassment usually happens to women in low-paying jobs, or women that have to have a job in order to support themselves and children. If sexual harassment happens at work, write down a detailed description of what took place, so that it is well recorded and you don’t have to think back to the incident. You should keep a note pad handy for this purpose, or write it on a napkin to help you remember. You should write: * When it happened * Where it happened * What


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