Frequently Asked Questions
Understand the Issue
- What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome, unsolicited behavior of a sexual nature including staring, gesticulating, touching, passing comments, sexual assault. But it must be emphasized that it is not only an issue of sexuality, but also of power. People only harass those over whom they feel they have power. In our patriarchal societies, men are seen to have more power than women. This is why most sexual harassment is done by men against women.
- What is eve teasing?
Eve teasing is a term that is generally used to refer to sexual harassment. But the word “teasing” trivializes the issue. Referring to women as “eve” carries overtones of temptation and “teasing” is too mild a term for unwelcome humiliating behavior.
- Is harassment only done by some kinds of people?
This is a commonly held perception. The issue is not of one class but of one mindset, which allows one to harass women believing that women are easy targets
- How is sexual harassment different from rape?
Rape is an extreme form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is any act that is unwelcome, unsolicited and causes hurt, trauma and pain. Anything right from staring, gesticulating, commenting to touching constitutes sexual harassment. There are separate laws for sexual harassment and rape.
- Does wearing certain kinds of clothes lead to more sexual harassment?
This is a myth. Several studies done around the world show that women of all ages and wearing all kinds of clothes are vulnerable to harassment. A study done by NIPPCID for Delhi Police showed that 82% of the women who were part of the survey were wearing every day, non-provocative clothes when they were harassed (salwar, kameez, trouser “top, sari)
- Do men ever get sexually harassed? Is such an incident called “Adam teasing”?
Men also get harassed but it is not termed as “Adam teasing”. Men who do not conform to the conditions of masculinity and are perceived to be effeminate are often “teased”. But one must remember that the term “teasing” trivializes the issue. A man teased for not being man enough is an incident of sexual harassment because it is a direct comment on his sexuality.