Sexual Harassment

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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 usua...

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...n.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_harassment#Early_history_of_the_use_of_the_term

Gale Group. (2003). Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law. Retrieved 10 29, 2011, from eNotes: http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/sexual-harassment

Sexual Harassment. (n.d.). Retrieved 10 29, 2011, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_harassment#Effects_of_sexual_harassment_and_the_.28often.29_accompanying_retaliation

The Advocates for Human Rights - Stop Violence Against Women. (1992). Effects of Sexual Harassment. Retrieved 10 29, 2011, from The Advocates for Human Rights - Stop Violence Against Women: http://stopvaw.org/Effects_of_Sexual_Harassment.html

U.S. equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.). Facts About Sexual Harassment. Retrieved 10 29, 2011, from U.S. equal Employment Opportunity Commission: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-sex.cfm

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