Sexual Harassment Awareness Series No. 3

Myth: Sexual harassment policies and legislation encourage a fear of sex, and demonizes behavior that is really normal between people.
Reality: Sexual harassing behavior may be common, but it is not “normal.” Sexual harassment is not about sexual desire, at the core of the problem is abuse, particularly the abuse of power and authority. One would never say that racist acts are “normal,” yet they are common, and are as harmful as sexual harassment. The issue is one of treating people with respect and dignity. That this does not always occur may be common, and may be human nature, but it is not “normal.”

Myth: A harasser has to have sexual intentions towards their target for the behavior to count as sexual harassment.
Reality: Sexual harassment is discrimination and is a form of abuse, most commonly an abuse of power. The harasser’s rationale does not change this fact.

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