The topic of sexual harassment in society is alarming and dangerous: with the continuous spread of harassment in public places and attacks behind closed doors and in the virtual (cyber) world, it is necessary to sound the alarm to avoid these crimes, which leave and psychological they have been accompanying the victims for many years, according to the experts interviewed by the “Libero” website.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment, in its guidance, as “unsolicited sexual offers, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Such behavior is expressed or implied.”
For its part, the International Labor Organization says it is difficult to measure violence and harassment in the workplace, “and often victims who tell another person about their experiences have experienced more than one form of violence and harassment”. The most common reasons for non-disclosure, according to the organization, are “wasted time and fear for reputation.”
And if the word “victim” is feminine, then it is appropriate in the field of harassment for both males and females, because all groups are subject to harassment, despite the experts’ focus on the reality of females.
As described by experts, an abuser or harasser is “a person who possesses power or dominance granted to him by society, and re-establishes control in a harmful way over others less powerful and more vulnerable than himself, including sexual harassment.”
Sexual harassment is not limited to foreplay or contact, and therefore the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission classifies the multiple types of harassment, explaining that they are “those words and actions of a sexual nature that violate the privacy of the body or feelings, and can be verbal, non-verbal or physical”, such as:
- Inappropriate gaze and control.
- Block someone’s way with the body.
- Giving personal (intimate) gifts.
- Telling lies and jokes about another person’s sexuality.
- Expressions that carry a suggestion that has sexual dimensions
- Calls, whistles, screams and whispers, which carry sexual undertones.
- Sexual notes on the body.
- Tracking down someone and approaching them in bad faith.
- Support overt and implied sex.
- Show sexual images.
- Online harassment.
- Touch, feel, scratch, get too close and more.
- Stripping and showing private parts in front of another person.
Who is the harasser?
The therapist and psychoanalyst, university lecturer, Dr. Marie-Ange Nohra, explains to Al-Hurra that “the methods adopted by the abuser are deviant, therefore he gets very close to his victim, and adopts the sweetness and the attractiveness, to be in able to attract the victim, especially if it is a child or younger than him, consequently, the seriousness of the matter is that the abuser is not exposed, because sometimes he is a relative or a work colleague, and the idea of harming his victim and being superior to her gives him pleasure.
She adds that “fame allows a person to hide behind their reputation and prestige and prevents the victim from revealing it. The more the abuser is in a position of authority, the more the victim will be silenced.”
For her part, the coordinator of the prevention programs of “Abaad”, an association that supports gender equality, Lama Jaradi, underlined, during an interview with the “Al-Hurra” website, that “the harasser or aggressor is a person who has power or dominion granted to him through the corporation and restores control to him in a harmful way.” on other sides which are less powerful and more fragile than it.”
Emphasize that all groups in society are vulnerable to harassment, but because our societies are masculine, there is more control and authority for males, and women and girls are the most vulnerable groups and groups most at risk of sexual harassment , especially in places where males have power over women, such as workplaces and places where it has economic or family dominance.
Harassment can occur through abuse of position, whether by an executive, a relative, or a clergyman, and the greatest danger is when sexual harassment turns into repeated rape by the same person.
Within the framework, Nohra states that “the danger of the abuser is that he adopts long-term methods and the victim can continue to remain silent for years. We see it in the clinic and after speaking, the signs of healing and courage begin , this is how the victim expresses himself in front of society.”
Stand up to the harasser
“The danger of the various methods of harassment lies in their disguise, because they can’t be spotted easily,” Nohra says, before adding, “The abuser prevents his victim from seeking help when he is near her, and she can no longer resist because he becomes in a vulnerable position.”
Emphasize that the abuser is usually responsible for his victim at work (a manager), his aunt, uncle, or someone close to him emotionally or practically.
Emphasize that harassment is not only limited to females, but also to males, as it can occur between an adult female and a younger man, child, or adolescent.
“Society condemns the victim and does not condemn the oppressor,” according to Nahra, and by suppressing it, it prevents the victim from speaking out until after years, when she has matured and has enough self-confidence to expose the oppressor.
For his part, Jaradi underlines that “the victim is silent because he feels guilty” and explains that this is caused “by education and habits, for example, for fear of being told that she seduced him, and that he left the Her house is late, so the blame falls on her.”
In addition to the stigma that society can attach to the victim, and their ignorance of the existence of organizations that can provide them with protection or support.
Nohra and Jaradi list the psychological consequences experienced by the victim of harassment:
- He suffers in silence.
- The repercussions are very great on a psychological level (phase of refraction).
- Loss of appetite over time.
- Loss of desire and pleasure to go out with friends.
- Anxiety and sleep disturbances.
- Anxiety, insomnia and lack of concentration.
- Shyness of personal relationships.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (can be a physical ailment up to the stage of harming the victim himself).
- Loss of opportunity.
- Loss of many relationships and many opportunities in society.
How to educate children
Experts agree that the best way to prevent harassment is to educate minors and warn them not to interact with strangers or get close to anyone they don’t know who tries to get close to them.
The role of parents is very important in immunizing the adolescent and protecting him from exposure to harassment.
Nohra explains: “At an early age, under 10, we can simply explain to the child that his body belongs to him and that no one can go near this body.”
In addition to encouraging the child to:
- Always communicate with his family in case he feels the danger of harassment.
- Mutual trust and ability to listen to parents.
What age is suitable for sexual awareness?
Jaradi explains that it is possible to talk to children about molestation in special ways. And this happens from an early age, right from childhood school, making them become aware of the intimate parts of their bodies, and of who can see them, and from this moment sexual awareness begins.
Emphasize the need to educate children on how to protect themselves from sexual harassment by providing them with self-protection and introducing them to the forms of harassment and what it means, why this harassment occurs and that this issue is not their fault, and therefore the child acquires the personal skills to protect himself.
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