What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcomed sexual behaviour. Sexual harassment is usually an attempt by one person to exert power over another person. It can be perpetrated by anyone. It is emotionally abusive and creates an unhealthy, unfriendly atmosphere in Calgary. It can involve name calling, getting too close, or flirting when a person is clearly not interested. Sexual harassment can take on many forms.

Who is affected by sexual harassment?

It affects everyone in our community when a person experiences harassment. Sexual harassment can occur between individuals of different genders or between individuals of the same gender.

What does sexual harassment look like?

Sexual harassment can be expressed in many ways, from very subtle to very obvious, through any of the following:

  • Suggestive remarks, sexual jokes, leering, or whistling
  • Patting, rubbing, or unwanted physical contact
  • Verbal abuse
  • Exposing someone to sexual images without permission
  • Outright demands for sexual favours
  • Physical assault

 

What can I do when I see someone experiencing sexual harassment?

Good neighbors (Bystanders) have the ability to stop harassment and to get help for people who have been affected. An active bystander is a person who is aware of potential sexual harassment, and chooses to speak up or do something without putting their own safety at risk.

Specific things you can try if you witness sexual harassment:

  • Get the attention of a security person or call 911 if there is potential for danger to the person experiencing harassment or anyone else around.
  • Speak up if someone says or does something that looks or sounds like sexual harassment or violence. Like stopping a friend from cat-calling, or stopping a co-worker from inappropriate actions, your intervening can help protect our community.
  • Respect your fellow Calgarians. Say something to protest offensive or derogatory remarks.
  • Always ask for partner consent in intimate situations.
  • If you feel like someone is being treated badly, ask them if there is something you could do to help.

 

How to be a Good Neighbour (By-Stander):

  • Approach everyone as a friend. Always approach all of the people involved in the situation.
  • Check in with the person experiencing the potential sexual harassment and see how they are feeling.
  • Avoid being antagonistic.
  • Never use verbal assaults or physical violence.
  • Be clear and direct about your feelings whenever possible.
  • Get help from someone else if needed.
  • Keep yourself safe.
  • If you feel unsafe, contact a security person or the police.
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