schools and businesses today. A week rarely goes by without a
reminder of the pervasiveness of sexual harassment as a social
problem. Sexual harassment is a growing problem in the government
agencies, schools, and the corporations of the world; however, many
corporations are now adopting new anti-harassment policies.(Conta)
The definition of sexual harassment is any unwanted or
inappropriate sexual attention. That includes touching, looks,
comments, or gestures. A key part of sexual harassment is that it is
one sided and unwanted. There is a great difference between sexual
harassment and romance or friendship, since those are mutual feelings
of two people. Often sexual harassment makes the victim feel guilty,
but it is important for the victim to remember that it is not their
fault, the fault lies totally on the person who is the harasser.
Many times fear is involved in sexual harassment because it
isn't about physical attraction, it's about power. In fact, many
sexual harassment incidents take place when one person is in a
position of power over the other; or when a woman has an untraditional
job such as a police officer, factory worker, business executive, or
any other traditionally male job. Typical victims of harassment are
young, single, college-educated, members of a minority racial or
ethnic group (if male), in a trainee position (or office/ clerical
positions if male), or have an immediate supervisor of the opposite
sex. (Cq researcher 542)
Presently, it is hard for courts and others to decide when
sexual harassment has taken place because the definition of sexual
harassment is much too broad. Clearing up the legal definition of
sexual harassment would discourage and punish harassers and bring
comfort to the victims. Here are some points to remember in deciding
when sexual harassment takes place: Sexual harassment is one-sided and
* It is about power and not attraction.
* It happens over and over again.
* It gets worse.
* Subtle sexual behavior is sometimes socially acceptable, but some
would consider it offensive and want it stopped.
* Moderate sexual behavior is not socially acceptable, reasonable
people would want it stopped.
* Severe sexual behavior is never acceptable. (Swisher 28)
Sexual harassment is a major problem in public schools,
colleges, and universities. Surveys on college campuses show the
number of respondents reporting to have been sexually harassed
ranging from 40-70 percent. Only two percent of campus harassment
cases involve a professor demanding sex in return for a good grade.
Most cases involve male and female students.
In public schools current sexual harassment definitions are
inappropriate, since bad sexual behavior of today's children isn't
sexual harassment, but it is a reflection of the vulgar, violent, and
the sexually explicit nature of our media and culture. When little
six-year-old children get suspended from school for kissing girls on
the cheek, it is not an example of sexual harassment but of political
correctness gone wild.
Sexual harassment is still a big problem in schools and
every school district in Washington now has an antiharassment policy.
"Junior high or middle school has the biggest problem with sexual
harassment mainly because of their immaturity and out-of-control
hormones". Says Viki Simmons of the YWCA. "Many times in high
school, students don't think anything about it when harassment
happens, but schools are now cracking down on it". (Simmons interview)
In the business world employers are now on notice that sexual
harassment will no longer be tolerated in the workplace. Claims