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Another thread (Am I a bad person?) prompted me to start this one.

Sexual Harassment is defined (by Google) as harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.

What constitutes and unwanted sexual advance or obscene remark?

How would you respond if an attractive model (male or female) said this to you and what would you think about the situation?
1. "Your butt looks good in those jeans"
2. "You have a nice smile"
3. "Hi there, how are you today?"
4. "If I were to flip a coin, what are the chances of me getting head or tail?"

How would you respond if it was just an average male or female?

What about some dirty homeless person? (no offense to any dirty homeless person on here!)

To me it is obvious that the same remark from a person who is considered attractive vs. someone who is considered unattractive or creepy will produce different results.

What are your thoughts?
 

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Good points. The offense of verbal sexual harassment does not depend so much on intention but on a receiver's understanding. Most of the time, the accusations are warranted as the sexual harassment was intended. Some of the time and too often, the accusations are unwarranted, as the sexual harassment was unintended, and the wrong meaning was understood from it. As sexual advances are very often ambiguous, I would take this problem to be very common. Males (or females for that matter) accused of sexual harassment have little means of defense, as it is difficult to disprove a verbal remark. Even if no official action is taken, the accusation will remain a pall on one's career. Unattractive (i.e. "creepy") males are especially vulnerable, as they can be accused of sexual harassment at the drop of a hat, whereas any such remarks from attractive males are more likely to be received positively.
 

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See it's not even whether or not they're good looking, it doesn't really work like that. It's just about who you find attractive. Because "good looking" isn't very specific, like I could find mr. olympic rower Guy B who only parks valet absolutely repulsive (because muscles are gross and spending way too much money on parking for no reason is gross), so it would gross me out if he "made a move" on me or anything, I'd be grossed out even if he just asked me out loool. But if a cool guy friend of mine with big hands and a love for Napoleon Dynamite shoved me against a wall at school, I'd be so into that.

So sexual harassment depends on if you WANT things to be sexual with another person (or more). Consent, really.

Like I think people who guilt trip their husbands or wives into having sex with them, that's sexual harassment. Because the other person doesn't really want it, but you're still pestering them.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
See it's not even whether or not they're good looking, it doesn't really work like that. It's just about who you find attractive. Because "good looking" isn't very specific, like I could find mr. olympic rower Guy B who only parks valet absolutely repulsive (because muscles are gross and spending way too much money on parking for no reason is gross), so it would gross me out if he "made a move" on me or anything, I'd be grossed out even if he just asked me out loool. But if a cool guy friend of mine with big hands and a love for Napoleon Dynamite shoved me against a wall at school, I'd be so into that. .
I understand that. Every persons wants are different. I used models as my "attractive" group because socially, that is what is considered attractive.

So sexual harassment depends on if you WANT things to be sexual with another person (or more). Consent, really.
That is a given. I am saying that attractive people "in general" will get away with more because they are attractive (more desireable).

Even if it is unwanted, an attractive person will less likely be reported as sexual harassing someone vs. an unattractive person.

Like I think people who guilt trip their husbands or wives into having sex with them, that's sexual harassment. Because the other person doesn't really want it, but you're still pestering them.
That is a despicable act in an unhealthy relationship. If my SO wanted sex (for whatever the reason), whether I was in the mood or not, I would give it to her. If it gets to the point where one spouse is not sexualy attracted to another, than some serious work needs to be put into the relationship (my personal opinion).
 

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I wouldn't class any of those comments as sexual harrassement. I can't say I've ever perceived anything else as it either. Continuous and repetitive remarks have made me uncomfortable in the past and they actually put me off wearing skirts for a long time, so I see how in a workplace it could become unbearable (I do wear them now though, because I'm getting old and nobody cares). :laughing:
Anyway, I usually take such comments as though they are well intended and how attractive or unattractive the 'commenter' is wouldn't change my view of them.
 

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What you or I perceive as sexual harassment is irrelevant.
The concept is well defined legally and it is differing perceptions that made a more precise legal definition necessary.
In this case I would advise you to forget your own personal thoughts on what it entails and learn it's legal definition.
Ignorance is generally not accepted as an excuse and something like this on your record can make life quite difficult so it's prudent to understand the law even if you don't agree with it.
 

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I don't think comments made can be sexual harassment unless the person is stalking you. I would compare it to calling someone "fat". It is a form of bullying, and shouldn't be tolerated in the work place. But it's not something you press charges about.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What you or I perceive as sexual harassment is irrelevant.
The concept is well defined legally and it is differing perceptions that made a more precise legal definition necessary.
In this case I would advise you to forget your own personal thoughts on what it entails and learn it's legal definition.
Ignorance is generally not accepted as an excuse and something like this on your record can make life quite difficult so it's prudent to understand the law even if you don't agree with it.
I am asking for personal opinions on what people think it is... I know the law doesn't care about personal opinions. I am not trying to get advice as to any specific scenerio. I merely put it up for discussion cause I found regardless of the what the law says, people have different definitions of what is considered sexual harassment and how much they will tolerate and from whom.

In the other thread "Am I a bad person?" Someone was going to say "your ass looks nice in those pants, have a good day" to a woman he doesn't know. One person commented that it was sexual harassment which made my mind start thinking about what is the difference between a compliment and sexual harassment. This example is crude, hence why i added other questions.

The legal definition states that Sexual Harassment is:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when

  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment,
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals, or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. (29 C.F.R. § 1604.11 [1980])
I will have to do some more research to see what the law says about it in social situations.

This thread is only for discussion purposes.
 

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I thought about this, and wasn't sure what to say at first. Honestly, I am personally leaning towards any blatantly sexual comment/action towards me by someone who is not my boyfriend as potential harassment. Obviously though, only repeated harassment by the same individual would maybe warrant legal action. Often times even people being stalked and threatened can struggle to actually have the law help them.

Just to put in perspective what I am saying regarding my personal definition.... One time I was walking down the street and a guy going in the opposite direction grabbed my arm in order to get me to stop moving. He wanted to tell me I was beautiful. Okay, first off, this is a big city. I do not like talking to strangers out in public much, and I especially do NOT like random strangers physically grabbing me! I yanked my arm away and kept on walking without a word. That to me is harassment. I am out minding my own business... and BAM! Some freak is pulling on my body to tell me some remark about my appearance. Annoying. While telling me I am beautiful isn't the worst thing I have heard while out in public, it was not warranted, especially in such a physical manner.
 

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2 and 3 are usually ok. 1 and 4, depending on circumstances might be considered harassment. It really depends on the persons involved and their relationship. There are coworkers of mine who, if they said one of those to me, I'd laugh and say something back. There are others whom would creep me out so badly I'd likely report it to HR. It's not really a black and white issue, especially since "unwanted" is in the very definition of the phrase and the only way to find out if the attention or jokes are wanted or acceptable is to either work up to them or test the waters. That testing can get you in some serious trouble, however.
 

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Another thread (Am I a bad person?) prompted me to start this one.

Sexual Harassment is defined (by Google) as harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.

What constitutes and unwanted sexual advance or obscene remark?

How would you respond if an attractive model (male or female) said this to you and what would you think about the situation?
1. "Your butt looks good in those jeans"
2. "You have a nice smile"
3. "Hi there, how are you today?"
4. "If I were to flip a coin, what are the chances of me getting head or tail?"

How would you respond if it was just an average male or female?

What about some dirty homeless person? (no offense to any dirty homeless person on here!)

To me it is obvious that the same remark from a person who is considered attractive vs. someone who is considered unattractive or creepy will produce different results.

What are your thoughts?
Nothing is relevant about advances until 1 thing happens. For me this defines harassment of any type, not just sexual. The person being offended and 'harassed' must say to the harasser or communicate in some way, "I am being offended by your actions. Please stop." At that point the harasser has the information about how their actions are making the other person feel.

If the actions of the harasser then continue, then it is indeed harassment. No other factor is relevant.

The next part of this issue is whether the person offended is an accurate judge of what is or is not actually considered offensive by most sane and fair 3rd party points of view. This is of course influenced by culture. It could also be influenced by objective moral truth if one believes that such a thing exists. Very tricky.

I am going to leave off discussion of the case where a person is being ridiculous about what offends them to the point where their taking offense is really just social manipulation even though that is a common thing these days and deserving of a thread all its own.

Back to the more understood case of 'real' offenses, as an example we could say that the way in which a boss says good morning to employee A offends and disenfranchises employee B. Is this some form of harassment? You bet it is. Employee B genuinely believes that because of how employee A is being treated that their own chances for promotion and even continued employment are at risk.

The OPs comments speak to a trend in all societies, but especially in our Type 3 image-based culture. Your image impression of the harasser is critical in your processing of the harassment. If a billionaire dressed as a homeless man and applied garbage stink to himself and came on to most women he would be rebuffed almost every time. If, however, the same man were in his element and came on to most women, he would get a more favorable result by a landslide. Image. The truth, admittedly hidden, about the man's status makes no difference. Only the image matters. Further the truth, about the man's character as a person, also hidden if he is unknown to the women, makes no difference. Only what the women can glean from demeanor and nuances of his character that shine through to intuition in that moment make any difference past the overwhelming influence of image.

It is true that some folks will choose to be offended regardless due to the method of harassment, even with only 1 example in evidence. A typical example would be when a person is drunk. Their inhibitions down and their vocabulary impaired the person makes a rather honest and blunt come-on and the target responds - how? Most of the time they will respond and affect just as much offendedness and just as much image assassination of the drunkard's character in later social discussions as they would as-if the person were sober. Is that fair?

There are two sides to the equation and that is all. INTENT of the harasser and APPROPRIATE RESPONSE CHOICE of the harassed based on their perception of the intent.
 

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How would you respond if an attractive model (male or female) said this to you and what would you think about the situation?
1. "Your butt looks good in those jeans"
2. "You have a nice smile"
3. "Hi there, how are you today?"
4. "If I were to flip a coin, what are the chances of me getting head or tail?"

How would you respond if it was just an average male or female?

What about some dirty homeless person? (no offense to any dirty homeless person on here!)
3 - I would be fine with, no matter who told me
2 - I would be fine with no matter who told me, but I would be a bit surprised
1 - I'd only be fine with if it came from a male friend or pretty much any female
4 - Vulgar, I'd not be happy about it, but if it wasn't from a person that I have to interact with (colleague, friend of a friend, etc) I would just roll my eyes and move on. It would be trickier if I didn't have a choice but to interact with them. I'd probably try to figure out why they were saying it and how it was intended. Clumsy sense of humor is one thing, malice is completely different.
i would be more foregoing to the homeless person, they are obviously not in a good place and that doesn't bring out the best in people. I also don't have to care what they say, if that makes sense.

I think that it was interesting that the point I was trying to make on the other thread got completely lost, btw...
 

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I've been hit with all of those lines before,
And personally I do not take them seriously but laugh them off and walk away.
For someone I didn't know I'd find it a little wierd,
But I wouldn't think more of it,
Just maybe that they are assholes(No.4).

To me sexual harassment is when someone intentionally abuses another dignity and right to deny anyone who comes onto them,
People who don't respect boundaries,
I concede that some do not vocalize their discomfort,
And therefore don't let the other know they feel harassed,
But I do feel you have a duty to yourself to set the boundaries,
Once they have been clearly set,
Then any trespassing,
No matter how minute is harassment.

But touching someone is out of the question,
You do that,
You infringe on their own space,
Vocalizing attraction is fine,
But only when done in respectful ordinance to the other persons views and feelings.
 

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Nothing is relevant about advances until 1 thing happens. For me this defines harassment of any type, not just sexual. The person being offended and 'harassed' must say to the harasser or communicate in some way, "I am being offended by your actions. Please stop." At that point the harasser has the information about how their actions are making the other person feel.
I wish that it would be this easy: I say "please stop" and what bothers me stops. If this is how things worked in real life, bullying would not be an issue! I would say that most adults have had experiences with or at least observed bullying close up, if not as an adult then at least as a child. Sexual harassment is nothing more or less than a form of bullying, IMO.

Every minute of the day, thousands of kids all over the world are bullied and degraded in school or in other environments that they don't have the power to remove themselves from. Most of those kids learn that speaking up will not result in any resolution - in fact, many times, speaking up only motivates the bully to increase the levels of harassment. We also learn that the authorities don't really address the issues - either at all or in a way that makes the situation feel even less secure for the victim.

Many women and men take these experiences with them into adulthood. Many women have learned that speaking up to someone who sexually harasses them seldom leads to an end of the behavior, but it will just increase the intensity. A pretty common advice to people dealing with a potential stalker, for example, is that the best thing to do initially is to ignore the 'advances' - engaging, no matter in what way, is not the right way to respond.

Add to that, that when it comes to sexual harassment, there is also very often a deep feeling of shame connected to what the victim experiences, no matter if the victim is a man or a woman. (I can expand, if needed.)

In addition, we all also know that bullying, as well as sexual harassment, can be done in such a subtle way that the victim can not get help, because there is not really anything concrete to point to. Or they are well aware that if he/she asks for help, people will take the bully's side, because the victim's explanation will sound so vague that he/she may be deemed as paranoid, etc.

I understand what you are saying about declaring your limits before things go out of hand. In reality, this does often not work, for all of the reasons above.
 

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I wish that it would be this easy: I say "please stop" and what bothers me stops. If this is how things worked in real life, bullying would not be an issue! I would say that most adults have had experiences with or at least observed bullying close up, if not as an adult then at least as a child. Sexual harassment is nothing more or less than a form of bullying, IMO.

Every minute of the day, thousands of kids all over the world are bullied and degraded in school or in other environments that they don't have the power to remove themselves from. Most of those kids learn that speaking up will not result in any resolution - in fact, many times, speaking up only motivates the bully to increase the levels of harassment. We also learn that the authorities don't really address the issues - either at all or in a way that makes the situation feel even less secure for the victim.

Many women and men take these experiences with them into adulthood. Many women have learned that speaking up to someone who sexually harasses them seldom leads to an end of the behavior, but it will just increase the intensity. A pretty common advice to people dealing with a potential stalker, for example, is that the best thing to do initially is to ignore the 'advances' - engaging, no matter in what way, is not the right way to respond.

Add to that, that when it comes to sexual harassment, there is also very often a deep feeling of shame connected to what the victim experiences, no matter if the victim is a man or a woman. (I can expand, if needed.)

In addition, we all also know that bullying, as well as sexual harassment, can be done in such a subtle way that the victim can not get help, because there is not really anything concrete to point to. Or they are well aware that if he/she asks for help, people will take the bully's side, because the victim's explanation will sound so vague that he/she may be deemed as paranoid, etc.

I understand what you are saying about declaring your limits before things go out of hand. In reality, this does often not work, for all of the reasons above.
I am in no way suggesting that saying stop does or does not work. I am defining harassment. There are indeed thousands of cases where harassment is implied or obvious and I was less concerned with those cases. They are trivial to define. It's the gray area of uncertain harassment that I was discussing.

In day to day interaction between people touch and speech are normal, acceptable, and prevalent, until ... they aren't. I have a few friends who are socially clueless enneagram 5 types, always in their own heads. At least a few of them have issues with understanding the limits of personal space. They are close-talkers. Full volume. And they fidget nervously so their hands are always doing odd things that make you look. All in all, very creepy. And they are oblivious to it. But nothing is meany by it. Yet, at least one of them was charged with sexual harassment at work for the same behaviors. He was devastated. All of his friends had warned him of his habits and made fun of him to get him to realize his oddness, but he was unable to not be himself in that way fairly often. The woman in question NEVER said anything to him. She just reported him to HR. He is not like some big intimidating dude. He is a shrimpy, demure, enneagram 5 dude. She should have just told him to stop. He would have.

So I agree with what you are saying, and there is plenty of bullying and harassment out there that is valid. But I think there are a lot of cases where is the perception of the supposed victim or their actions that do deserve some scrutiny.

Usually, defeating harassment is about connections. Tying in others to the situation. If the harassment is supported by the establishment or the culture that can be very hard to do. I am not blaming the victim. But there are plenty of people out there willing to listen. Tie someone else into your pain and add in the strength of them knowing. That pattern over time can help to reveal the unconcrete nature of the offense.

I still think that not saying stop is an error, even if it provokes a greater response. It establishes a truth. That the harassment is not desired. It's visible to everyone who sees it. The greater response makes it more-so and is thus good. The matter is tabled for social discussion. And if not then the harassed person can be clever and make it a social scenario. To never say stop, to never take that risk is inviting the interpretation of the harasser that at least on some level the harassed person likes their plight, the attention, whatever.

Forced to go, or I would continue with a few more thoughts ...
 

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If I heard this from people I was in no way attracted to-

1. "Your butt looks good in those jeans"

Yeah, too bad we can't just walk around naked in this day and age.

2. "You have a nice smile"

Thanks man

3. "Hi there, how are you today?"

*Tell the truth, avoiding normal "fine you?" protocol*

4. "If I were to flip a coin, what are the chances of me getting head or tail?"

Zero.

Unfortunately, a lot of sexual harassment is based upon the idea of subjective discomfort, which is. . . well. . . subjective. When sexual harassment actually becomes an objective issue (unwanted physical contact and/or punative behavior) it should be taken extremely seriously.

But when someone is bothered by the fact that someone else is attracted to them and decide to get that person fired. . . That's when shit starts getting a little fucked up
 

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I'd laugh at one and two.. I'd just assume they were being nice.
Second two I'd just answer effortlessly and honestly.

I don't feel harassed unless the guy clearly had some sort of mental problem or comes off as unstable. If they touch me (on the back, on the shoulder or arm) I don't have a problem, any intense touch motivated by a sex drive than makes me feel threatened I would count as harassment or repeated graphic comments or solicitations after I've made my discomfort known or asked them to stop. I would only take legal action if I felt seriously threatened or defiled by the comments/touching.

I prefer dealing with people myself and keeping things as light and peaceful as possible.
 

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I'd laugh at one and two.. I'd just assume they were being nice.
Second two I'd just answer effortlessly and honestly.

I don't feel harassed unless the guy clearly had some sort of mental problem or comes off as unstable. If they touch me (on the back, on the shoulder or arm) I don't have a problem, any intense touch motivated by a sex drive than makes me feel threatened I would count as harassment or repeated graphic comments or solicitations after I've made my discomfort known or asked them to stop. I would only take legal action if I felt seriously threatened or defiled by the comments/touching.

I prefer dealing with people myself and keeping things as light and peaceful as possible.
Very sensible reply
 
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