What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any behaviour that is sexual in nature, that is unwelcome and makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.
It can be written, or verbal, or physical, and can happen in person, or online, or via text message.
Both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment.
When it happens at work, school or university, it may also amount to sex discrimination.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can take many forms, including:
- touching, grabbing or making other physical contact with you without your consent
- leering or staring at you
- making sexual gestures or suggestive body movements towards you
- cracking sexual jokes or making sexual comments around or to you
- questioning you about your sex life
- asking you for sex or sexual favours or persistent requests for you to go out on dates
- displaying rude and offensive material so that you or others can see it
- sending messages or images that are sexual in nature via text message or on social media
Who Can Commit Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can be committed by just about anyone, including employers and work colleagues, students over the age of 16, room mates, and in some instances, staff or customers involved in the provision of goods and services.
It can happen at work, school or university, and it can also happen anywhere that is work related, including hotels, bars, nightclubs, function centres, cafes and even in taxis.
There is both federal and state legislation that protects all Australians from sexual harassment.
The law differs in each state, but in general, it is unlawful for a person to sexually harass another person in the areas of employment, education, accommodation, and in the provision of goods and services.
Our sexual harassment specialists can support you through this difficult time, and explain which legislation is relevant to your particular circumstances.
We can guide you through your best options moving forward to ensure that you achieve justice.
How Sexual Harassment Can Affect You
If you are being sexually harassed, you might:
- feel stressed, anxious or depressed
- withdraw from social situations
- lose confidence and self-esteem
- have physical symptoms of stress, such as headaches, backaches or sleep problems
- be less productive and unable to concentrate
Make Sure That You Talk To Someone
If you are being subjected to sexual harassment, it is important that you have support, and that you talk to someone.
Please call a friend, or you can make an appointment to see your local doctor, or you can call:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
Sexual Harassment – Know Your Rights