Remember Harvey Weinstein? The media mogul who sexually preyed on his female co-workers and subordinates? Well, after a majority of his victims spoke out in the #MeToo movement, the A-hole got what he deserved!
Yay! But don’t go celebrating just yet. The world is still filled with many more Weinstein clones. You might even have a handful of them at your workplace. How do you determine whether your colleague is just being friendly or borderline sexually harassing you? WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE? WHEN DO YOU SAY ‘STOP’?
Here are some general guidelines:
1. UNWELCOME ADVANCES
Basically any form of skinship that makes your skin crawl. Hi-five? No problem. Handshake? Sure thing. But groping, unwanted hugs and even pats on the butt, waist, etc are a “NO WAY, José”! However, don’t go screaming bloody murder if your colleague accidentally touches you. That’s just being a drama queen/king.
“You look good in that blouse” VS “Your body looks vivacious in that blouse”. Know the difference. Doesn’t matter if they're verbal or non-verbal. If they start pointing out your body features and giving you disturbing looks, give them the boot.
3. SEXUAL IMAGES
It could be a Playboy pin-up or a forwarded image of some topless model, these are offensive pictures and should not even see the light of day at the office. There is a reason why they are called #NSFW!
4.BEING STARED AT IN A PROVOCATIVE MANNER
If you feel like you are being undressed with their eyes, then they have crossed the line. You’re not a cat, and they sure as heck are not wolves, so what’s with the catcalls and wolf whistles?
5. UNFAIR TREATMENT
If you are treated poorly after you reject their advances, then that is downright bullying which is another form of harassment. Ladies and gents, never bow down to harassment just for a raise or a promotion. You are worth more than that.
It’s an uphill battle, especially if the perpetrator is your manager, but there are ways to bring them down. Keep a record of the sexual harassments, report to the HR, the worker’s union, etc. Be prepared to face the consequences though as the offenders might gang up on your story, but don’t ever back down. Keep your head up. You got this!