With the recent events happening in the entertainment industry involving Harvey Weinstein, more women have found the voice and platform to come out and speak out against sexual harassment. While it has taken some time, many actresses, models and other female Hollywood stars are coming forward and speaking out against the mistreatment and sexualization of women, not only in the industry but overall as half of the global population. Personally, I have experienced sexual harassment in more ways than one. But, throughout the years, it took me quite some time to realize just how often I was being sexually harassed, not only in my social life but also throughout my career in the workplace, as well as in school.
The first time I was “sexually harassed” was in the 9th grade, when my Latin teacher threw me out of class because my turtleneck sweater was “too tight” across my chest and he found it to be a distraction to the “male students” in the room. I was 14-years-old. At the time, I didn’t realize he was sexually harassing me – constantly staring at my chest throughout my class time and often times, asking me to stay after class to “discuss things.” Throughout the years moving forward, I experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Working in restaurants, it’s a social “normality” for cooks in the kitchen to sexualize waitresses. As well, in bartending, men come in and constantly make snide comments about my body and its features. While it’s not them putting their hands on me, they aren’t assaulting me or holding me against my will – they are still harassing me sexually and putting me on display as their own little “treat.” It took me years to realize all the ways and times throughout my life I was the victim of sexual harassment, and, in more ways than one.
1. Being cat-called on the street.
No matter where you are or what you’re doing, when people whistle at you, cat-call you or make comments about you while you’re walking down the street minding your own business – that’s sexual harassment.
2. When someone “up and downs” you with their eyes when speaking to you.
When having a conversation, there’s no reason for someone to completely once-over your body, stopping in inappropriate places checking our your assets. Sexual harassment does not always have to be verbal, in fact, most of the times women experience sexual harassment it is non-verbal.
3. When you’re told not to wear something in school or in the workplace.
You’re being sexualized for your body, often times things you cannot control. The other person or parties involved are sexualizing you, even though you may be dressed completely “appropriately.”
4. People making sexual jokes around you to bring up sex, or make you feel uncomfortable.
In certain settings, it’s completely inappropriate to talk about sex or insinuate any type of sexual conversation, especially in the workplace. It’s important to speak up if you feel uncomfortable. If you have and the person still brings up such topics around you, it’s harassment at that point in time.
5. When a person walks being you solely to get a view of your behind.
It happens more often than you’d think, but we’re not totally aware of it because our backs are turned. People will follow you and stare at your ass from behind and you don’t even realize it.