Sexual harassment is when someone behaves towards another person in a sexual way, without that person wanting it to happen or giving their permission.
This includes both words, such as unwanted sexual comments or sexual remarks about someone’s body, and physical behaviour, like unwanted touching, groping or deliberately brushing into someone. It can also happen online, on social media and via mobile phones.
It can make the person it happens to feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or ashamed, and even intimidated – or some or all of these.
Sexual harassment most commonly happens to women but it can happen to anyone of any age, gender or sexual orientation.
But isn’t it just banter?
It can be easy to think that some of these behaviours are just ‘normal’ parts of life.
But none of them are acceptable or inevitable, and no one should feel like they just have to put up with them.
Everyone deserves to have their personal boundaries respected.
Dismissing sexual harassment or sexual behaviour that makes someone feel uncomfortable as only “banter”, “just having a laugh”, or “boys being boys” is not okay.
Equally, deliberately crossing the line and making someone uncomfortable is not okay either – whether it is because of something you’ve said, or something you’ve done. Unwanted sexual comments or sexual behaviour towards someone without their permission is wrong and can be illegal.
No. It is not okay for anyone to make sexual comments that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. This is true whether it is someone you know or a stranger, or whether the comments happen in real life or online. Everyone deserves to have their personal boundaries respected.