Sexual Harassment Hurts

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome, unwanted pressure, verbal, visual, or physical contact of a sexual nature.  

It is a power play and may include:

  • putting a hand on someone’s shoulder
  • repeatedly propositioning someone when they have said no
  • questioning or commenting about a person’s sexuality
  • spreading sexual rumors
  • telling sexually offensive jokes
  • displaying pictures or magazines that are sexually explicit
  • making comments about someone’s clothing or body
  • making suggestive gestures
  • standing or rubbing against a person
  • pressuring someone for a date

The person being harassed may experience:

  • fear
  • humiliation
  • anxiety
  • inability to trust people
  • a hard time concentrating
  • difficulty attending school
  • social problems
  • use of drugs and alcohol
  • anger
  • depression
  • sleeplessness
  • withdrawal from others
  • embarrassment
  • nervousness
  • change in dress or behavior

The harasser may experience:

  • disciplinary action, including detention, suspension, or expulsion
  • legal consequences, including criminal charges
  • embarrassment
  • blame
  • isolation from friends

The entire school may experience:

  • an atmosphere of secrecy, rumors, and fear
  • problems protecting students from harassment and retaliation
  • students taking sides “for” and “against”
  • a drop in students’ performances

If it’s so bad, why doesn’t the person being harassed talk about it or the person doing the harassing just stop?

The person being harassed may:

  • fear retaliation
  • feel like it’s their fault
  • feel like nothing can be done to stop the harassment
  • hope the harassment will go away by ignoring it
  • think if they change their behavior the harassment will stop by itself

The harasser may:

  • really like the person
  • think the person likes the attention
  • just be following the crowd and not thinking about what they are doing
  • not see anything wrong with their behavior
  • know their actions are unwanted but not care about the other person’s feelings

Help is Available

If you or someone you know has been sexually harassed, or if you would like more information, talk to your school administrators or contact the local domestic violence/sexual assault program nearest you.