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Understanding Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in The Wake Of Harvey Weinstein

Sexual harassment is illegal in the workplace. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains that “Harassment can include ‘sexual harassment’ or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” The Commission website continues to detail that “Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.” Unfortunately, the workplace and most environments the world over do not adhere to such guidelines. Offensive comments about women are commonplace and often celebrated. Verbal advances are made to women daily on their walks to work, home from the gym, or to the grocery store.

When women speak up about sexual harassment, they are typically met with instruction to stay quite, threats of unemployment, told nobody will listen, met with more sexual harassment, and much more. Continuously silenced, repressed, and abused, a woman finds her sense of strength faltering under the pressure of her inherent sexuality. Of course, sexual harassment is not exclusive to women or even women who identify with binary gender standards, like being female. According to statistics, however, women are most often the victim.

Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, according to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. One out of every six women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 90% of adult rape victims are female. The numbers and the impact are undeniable. RAINN defines sexual assault as referring to “…sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim,” which can include:

  • Attempted rape
  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
  • Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape

Women cope with the trauma of sexual assault in different ways. Some develop mental illness like anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Others become chemically addicted to drugs and alcohol, abusing their bodies and their brains. Some experience hypersexuality. Some develop eating disorders. Though harm has already been done to her, she continues to do harm to herself. The pain does not have to continue. You can recover. You can live again. You can be free.

 

If you are or have recently experienced sexual assault, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673. Villa Tranquil offers women between the ages of 18-65 the safety and security of a sober transitional living environment. Continued compassionate, clinical care helps women develop their authentic sense of selves while building a new life in recovery. Call us today for information: (866) 697-7573