Many people are under the misconception that sexual harassment involves direct physical contact. However, sexual harassment can take many forms, often not even affecting a victim directly.
Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted or unwelcome behavior that is sexual in nature. It can be direct, affecting a victim specifically, or can be indirect, affecting a witness or onlooker.
Direct Sexual Harassment
Harassment that is direct may be verbal or physical in nature. It can involve someone being the topic of a lewd joke, a request for sexual favors in exchange for benefits like a promotion or raise, or in worst cases, can involve physical harm, such as inappropriate touching or rape.
Indirect Sexual Harassment
Indirect sexual harassment incidents usually involve a secondary victim who has been offended by visual or auditory conduct. A victim of indirect sexual harassment can be someone that overhears a lewd joke at work, even though they are not the subject of it, may read a letter or email that is sexual in nature and become offended by it, or can also come across an inappropriate image or photograph, such as on a screen saver or in an email.
In addition, indirect sexual harassment can involve someone who is a witness to the harassment of another individual. They may take offense or become fearful for their own safety.
Anyone who experienced sexual harassment in any form should contact a sexual harassment lawyer to put an end to the offensive and unwanted sexual conduct.