Contrary to popular belief, sexual harassment is not just physical.
In legal terms, sexual harassment is any offensive behavior of a sexual nature. It is any type of activity forcefully done on an unwilling victim in the school or workplace. When people hear the words “sexual harassment”, they immediately picture physical harassment.
However, a string of wrong words is enough to get you in jail.
Crossing the Line with Words
Sexual harassment, in verbal terms, is hurtful and affects victims in the same manner as physical harassment. What seems as a harmless joke can come across as an offensive and sexual verbal assault. On most occasions, people who joke on a regular basis cross the line. If these jokes turn into verbal abuse, the victim can report it as sexual harassment.
What Counts as Verbal Harassment
Young men and women in high schools and colleges experience verbal harassment in the hands of classmates or teachers. In the workplace, employees also experience the same assault with co-workers or their employers.
Dntriallaw.com, a Houston criminal defense lawyer, notes that verbal offenses are often unwelcome excessive and repetitive conduct. It can also be something simple, such as calling someone with the terms sexy, sweetie, love, juicy, and baby.
Other forms of verbal harassment include the following:
- Making jokes of a sexual nature
- Whistling or sexual noises
- Verbally expressing sexual desire
- Complementing a person’s clothing in a sexual context
- Spreading sexual rumors
- Inquiring about sexual activities or fantasies
The Vagueness of Verbal Harassment
Often, both victim and the suspect are unaware that verbal harassment is taking place. Some people do not realize that they are already harassing the person. The line between harassment and casual joking remains blurred and ultimately depends on how the subject perceives the joke.
Sexual verbal harassment can occur in a way that does not violate the law but still makes the victim uncomfortable. This leads to the suspect remaining unaware of the gravity of their actions.
Due to the less than clear nature of verbal harassment, everyone should be mindful of what they say. If not, you might find yourself at the other end of a sexual harassment case.