Sexual harassment includes any verbal or physical action related to sex toward someone who does not want it. It can be either a one-time thing or a series of repeated things.
Harassment can happen to guys and girls, and it can happen between two guys or two girls, too. It can also happen to people of any age.
We need to be careful with the way we treat each other. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is very common in high school (and also happens at other ages), but that doesn’t make it ok. 42-80% of high school students experience sexual harassment. Any time someone feels embarrassed or very uncomfortable because of another person’s actions, it can be seen as harassment. Remember that is never ok to treat someone or be treated in a way that is embarrassing.
If a certain person makes you feel afraid or uncomfortable with any comments pictures or jokes related to sex, your body, other people’s bodies, dating, or unwanted attention or flirting, this can be considered sexual harassment. It’s really important to trust your gut because what matters is how this makes you feel.
Another important thing to consider is your relationship with the person making the comments. Comments that might feel ok to you in friendships or a dating relationship might feel uncomfortable if a classmate, boss, or someone else you don’t know as well says it. For example, a boss, teacher, clergy person or other adult with authority, commenting on how your clothes fit, flirting with you, or commenting on another persons body is often inappropriate. Adults need to be very careful even when joking with you because you can’t tell them to “cut it out” as easily as you’d be able to tell a friend.
Being harassed can make you feel embarrassed, offended, scared, and unsafe. It often also causes anxiety, depression, tiredness, and insomnia (having trouble sleeping). Also, you might feel less confident in yourself and struggle to connect with your friends.
If you are being harassed, remember that it isn’t your fault. You can make it better by getting some help to work through the problems. Start by talking to someone you trust - a friend, parent, teacher, coach, or school counselor. We’re also available 24/7 to talk at 1-855-201-2121.
The National Center for Victims of Crime