Let's talk about Sexual Harassment !

A (by Lebanese mena��s standards) sexy woman got on the bus today as I was heading home from work. Ia��m sure all day long a�?sexya�? women use public transportation to get to their desired destination. But, we dona��t really notice things unless theya��re in our face, happening right in front of us. Well, some of us notice, and others are the actors in the play.

Back to the story… Whata��s every mana��s perfect woman? High heels; check. Long black hair; check. Dressed in a way that accentuates her silhouette; check. This woman obviously met the criteria for a lot of men, because she definitely managed to turn heads. It was as if there was a different creature among us, maybe some kind of alien that we rarely get in contact with. Since the bus was a bit crowded, all the men fixed their seating positions, perhaps as an invitation for her to sit next to them? I had taken the entire seat, putting my head back and resting after a stressful day at work. She asked me if she could sit next to me, so I adjusted my position to give her room. Two minutes had barely passed as she turned to me and asked me how much she had to pay the bus. The two men sitting in front of me turned around and answered her before I got the chance to open my mouth. I repeated the answer…

This is a little story that makes me think of the world and how it works. Beautiful versus ugly, mainly. Everybody pays attention to hot and sexy women. People almost bend over backwards to do them favors. Whata��s the price though? Being harassed? Being marginalized? Being objectified? How many times have we heard men say a�?she had it cominga�? when they refer to a survivor of rape, because, well, she dresses in a revealing manner? How many times have we heard men refer to a�?sexya�� women as whores and express that they will a�?disciplinea�� them for speaking up and being more than a pretty doll? How many times have we heard young guys call girls sluts because they socialize with, in their opinion what is, too many guys?

If a beautiful woman applies for a job, she gets harassed and asked for sexual favors. So, she turns the job down, and goes on another interview. And the cycle continues. So, she settles and accepts one of these jobs. During the first couple of months the mood seems acceptable; the boss greets her with a smile. A little time passes and he starts to get physically closer, invading her personal space. And time passes again and we find him to be the clown of the office, making jokes that obviously make her uncomfortable. She tries to put limits for him, he turns it all to a joke and how can anyone really reply to the following: a�?walaw Ia��m kidding! Cana��t you handle a joke?a�?. With his behavior, the boss has now become the model to follow for all the men at work. And everybody thinks they are entitled to the same sense of humor their boss has, and in consequence to the same line of action or as he would like to put it, jokes.

Rape is not the only thing that counts as sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment. Leta��s remember that!

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Image source:A�saynotoviolence.org

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  1. Sexual harassment isn’t a rare case in our countries – Middle East. It is widespread!
    Types of Sexual Harassment:
    Gender Harassment: Generalized sexist statements and behavior that convey insulting or degrading attitudes about women. Examples include insulting remarks, offensive graffiti, obscene jokes or humor about sex or women in general.
    Seductive Behavior: Unwanted, inappropriate and offensive sexual advances. Examples include repeated unwanted sexual invitations, insistent requests for dinner, drinks or dates, persistent letters, phone calls and other invitations.
    Sexual Bribery: Solicitation of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by promise of reward; the proposition may be either overt or subtle.
    Sexual Coercion: Coercion of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by threat of punishment; examples include negative performance evaluations, withholding of promotions, threat of termination.
    Sexual Imposition: Gross sexual imposition (such as forceful touching, feeling, grabbing) or sexual assault.
    Of these five types of behavior, gender harassment is by far the most common, followed by seductive behavior. The “classic” forms of sexual harassment (bribery and coercion) are in fact relatively uncommon, while other forms of sexual imposition happen more frequently than most people think.

  2. and…
    The defining characteristic of sexual harassment is that it is unwanted. It’s important to clearly let an offender know that certain actions are unwelcome.

  3. I am constantly harassed when i use public transportation… whatever my clothes are or my behavior. I am not a sexy beautiful woman.

  4. i agree! sexual harassment is widespread. in all contexts, countries, at the workplace, in public transportation, in colleges, universities…
    and it doesn’t have anything to do with the way women wear their clothes or behave.
    it’s all in the head of us, men i mean. how we are educated since our childhood. if we learn to respect women or not. how our parents behaved with each other. what we learnt at school about sexuality. what porn industry is teaching us…

  5. Of course it’s not about the women getting harassed, it’s always about the aggressor. And there’s always justifications such as “well, she dresses like that so what does she expect?”. And if a woman isn’t too “sexy” or “beautiful” some men think she is an easier target…
    DISCLAIMER: this entire article (with the definitions) is not the way I view women, it’s simply a description of what I’ve seen happen too often.

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