"Hey that's sexual harassment and I don't have to take it!" Many women have made this comment in any uncomfortable situations. In today's society there has been confusion over what constitutes sexual harassment. It has been agreed upon that unwanted physical contact is classified as sexual harassment. However, all inappropriate language with a sexual overtone is also sexual harassment. Verbal comments such as sexual jokes and indecent comments reported or not, is sexual harassment.
Experts define sexual harassment as any behavior that is unwanted and found offensive (LeMoncheck 45). This includes verbal conduct as well as physical conduct. However, many authorities do not take this definition into account when a harassment case has been reported. Because a person was not physically, violated authorities do not considered it serious. As with the Teresa Harris case, because there was no physical harm her case did not stand in court. Jokes are not considered to be harassing maybe just offensive. When sexual jokes about women are repeatedly told, especially if the person has told the offender once that they find the jokes insulting, it is verbal harassment (Jones 67).
The first amendment allows people the "right of freedom of speech". Because of this amendment, many do not find sexual jokes and comments to be harassment. It is just a person speaking their mind. For instance, just as a person is not to yell out fire in a movie theater or make racist remarks because it is harmful and offend and harm a person, sexual jokes can also be harmful to a person. Therefore in this instance the first amendment should be taking into consideration.
There are times when the judicial sys...
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...r repeat offenses or for sexist remarks" (13). The Census does accept sexist remarks as harassment, when in actuality it is. Just as many verbal harassment reports are made as physical. The verbal reports are just not counted.
Verbal harassment is offensive and harmful. Authorities should take the situation lightly, but should treat it the same as any other type of harassment. No one should accept it for any type of reason, especially not a job. Therefore, before telling that dirty joke by copy machine, ask the people around do they find sexual jokes offensive.
Buck, Chris. "The Joke That Killed". Esquire. Jan 1995 vol:123. 84-86.
Hajdin, Mane and Linda LeMoncheck. Sexual Harassment. New York: Rowman & Littlefield publishers, Inc.,1997.
Jones, Constance, Library In a Book:Sexual Harassment. New York:Facts on File,1996.