Examples of sexual harassment
Recent events have brought the issue of sexual assault and harassment to the forefront of the American consciousness. The specific examples of the abusive or harassing behavior alleged by those claiming to be victims has caused many to reassess their viewpoints and actions when it comes appropriate behavior. While one never wants to downplay the torment felt by accusers, one also does not want to have his or her actions misinterpreted.
Having a clear understanding of exactly what qualifies as sexual harassment may help in this regard. The general definition is any unwanted actions or behavior directed at another that are of a sexually explicit nature. This covers obvious acts of harassment such as inappropriate touching or comments, persistent unwelcome romantic advances, or the use of coercion or the threat of reprisals in getting another to consent to sexual activity.
Yet even more subtle actions may be viewed as sexual harassment. Off-colored comments about one's body or leering at particular body parts can also be considered harassment by some. Lewd talk or the open sharing of one's romantic or intimate exploits may also lead to harassment claims in that such conversation can create an atmosphere of uneasiness, even if the speaker had no intention of offending or singling out anyone.
It is in those situations where no offense was meant that a closer look at the accuser might be warranted. As any criminal defense lawyer can verify, there are a number of different reasons why one might falsely accuse another of harassment. Revenge or payback for having their own advances rebuffed is often a common motive, as is people trying to divert attention away from their own inappropriate conduct.
Everyone should be mindful of their own behavior so as to avoid having their actions or intent misinterpreted. Applying simple common sense to a situation might help one out of scenarios that could be compromising. At the same time, the right of people to refute allegations should also be respected. Those who feel they have been falsely or unfairly accused should never be afraid of defending themselves and their reputations.