Sexual Harassment

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What is sexual harassment?

If someone says things of a sexual nature to you, or about you, that you don’t want, this is called sexual harassment. It can happen to anyone of any gender. Many girls and women in particular face sexual harassment throughout their lives, including at school. Studies have shown that some girls face it even more than others for example lesbian, bisexual and trans girls, and girls of colour or girls who wear a hijab.

The comments could be about your body, calling you names like ‘slut’, talking about sexual things you’ve done and who with, whether there’s any truth to it or not. It doesn’t matter either way – no one should spread rumours. It might be one person or it could be more, and it could be online, in person or both. 

It could involve sharing pictures/videos of you along with comments, and these could get shared around and other people comment or like them which can make it feel worse.

Another common thing is for men to honk (usually at girls) from their cars. This can make them feel embarrassed, self-conscious or maybe frightened, especially if they are alone or it’s at night.

It’s never OK for people to make unwanted sexual comments or gestures. It might make you feel as if it’s your fault somehow, but it’s not – no one should say or do stuff like this to you. The problem is with them.

Unfortunately comments are often made that make the person on the receiving end feel like it’s their fault. Because adults often warn young people of the dangers of sharing nude pictures/videos, if they face harassment they can feel like it was their fault for sharing the picture in the first place.

But it’s never your fault for being on the receiving end of harassment.

What does the law say?

If this harassment is persistent and comes from the same person you could get a Non-Harassment Order or other protective orders against the person who is sexually harassing you. Check out this guide from the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre. 

Remember:  It’s illegal for someone to share intimate pictures, that were only meant for them, with other people. This is known as so-called ‘revenge porn’ and is an offence under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (ScotlandAct 2016

Find out more about revenge porn.

Find out more about images being shared without your permission.

Where can you get help and support?

Find out where to get support.

Leave this site quickly and head to BBC News.

Visit the That’s Not OK campaign page for more information.

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