In today’s society we constantly hear or read about individuals that claim they were a victim of sexual pressure. These instances can take place at work, school, the military and even at church. But exactly what is sexual exploitation or unwanted sexual behavior? After looking at several definitions for sexual abuse I came across the following definition that I feel will help all of us to better understand what inappropriate sexual behavior is. Sexual harassment was defined by The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as unwelcome advances and requests for sexual behavior or conditional requests such as a person’s employment will continue if they perform these acts. (Gale Group, 2003). This definition left me thinking and believing that unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate behavior existed long before it was termed “sexual harassment” and was recognized by law as an offensive act. When we truly look back at history we can say that the female slaves and domestic servants endured unwanted sexual advances, exploitation and pressure day in and day out. They were belittled by their masters/employers and they were made to perform sexual favors in order to survive .
The decision to come up with an all encompassing word for the sexual mistreatment of females was not an easy task and it was female activists and lawyers such as Lin Farley, Susan Meyer and Catharine MacKinnon that brainstormed to come up with the term “sexual harassment” back in the 1970’s. (Farley) However, it wasn’t until 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was put in place that the word sexual harassment was truly introduced into law and banned from employment.
This offensive advancement can take place at anytime and almost anywhere. The harasser is usually a person in power or has some type of authority over the victim. He or she can be a friend or a complete stranger perhaps even a co-worker. Please also keep in mind that a harasser can be male or female and can be of the same sex as the victim. The harasser may not always know that they are being offensive but if the other person is uncomfortable and has stated this to them then he or she should stop before legal action is brought forth.
Some women may even prefer not to report any allegations of being pressured sexually for fear of what might happen to them if they do. Although it is not lawful to retaliate against an individual for exposing employment practices that discriminate many people would seek retaliatory efforts. Therefore there are many women who feel it may be better for them to suffer in silence than to deal with revengeful or vindictive tactics such as being denied promotions or being scorned by other women who may think that the victim is pressing charges for attention. Because of the nature of such unprofessional behavior the victim may find him or herself very alone and no one wants to go through that especially after suffering through the harassment itself.
Being sexually abused can have...