Sexual harassment is broadly defined as any unwelcome verbal, physical, written, or electronic conduct of a sexual nature where the perpetrator intends to abuse or intimidate the victim. According to Hackensack, NJ sexual harassment lawyers, sexual misconduct includes acts such as harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and domestic violence, to name a few.

On the other hand, sexual assault is sexual contact without consent and includes rape, attempted rape, sexual abuse, and unwelcome sexual touching.

What is consent

It is important for everyone including employees and students to understand the issue of consent vs. coercion when it comes to sexual harassment. Consent is when an individual agrees and give permission to sexual activity with another person. Individuals have the right to control their body and not permit someone to engage with them in a sexual manner without their permission. You do not need a Hackensack, NJ sexual harassment lawyer to understand this.

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According to law, it is the responsibility of the person initiating any form of sexual activity to obtain permission from the other individual. Every person involved in a sexual situation must be aware that they may have given consent but have the right to say ‘yes’ or no’ at any point.

According to NJ sexual harassment attorneys, consent is usually a verbal agreement while those who do not have the ability to communicate verbally must obtain consent through another method of communication. This could include writing, gestures, shaking hands, and sign language, to name a few.

What is not consent

While consent may be interpreted differently, lawyers stress the importance of what is not consent and where it can never be assumed. Just because two people are dating or have engaged in sex before, it does not mean that each one automatically consents to such activities in the present. Both individuals must have the right to say no to sex in any form. A person’s body language also does not automatically mean he or she is willing to engage in sexual activity. An embrace, eye contact, or touching in a friendly manner does not mean that the person is consenting to sex.

Marriage is also one of the primary areas where there is a fine line between sex and marital rape. Both spouses have the right to deny sex while consent can never be assumed. Every state has strict marital rape laws that make sexual acts without consent a crime.

When one individual holds significant authority over the other such as a boss over an employee and a professor over a student, the difference in power cannot give the person in power any authority to influence sexual interactions.

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One of the most common occurrences of sexual harassment and assault is when individual(s) are drunk and have diminished capacity. Alcohol is often used as a weapon to lure a person to have sex even though they are incapable of giving consent. According to legal professionals, the state’s law clearly defines that consent cannot be considered when a person has diminished mental capacity, which includes being drunk, drugged, unconscious, or due to a developmental disability.


Coercion is the act of exerting power and control over another person, which is one of the common acts that lead to sexual abuse. It occurs when an individual forces, tricks or manipulates circumstances in order to get another to engage in sex without physical force.

Harassers may use blackmail, veiled threats, and drugs or alcohol to get their way. They could also manipulate another person by using coercive statements. If you are a victim of sexual harassment and are confused about issues such as consent and coercion and what to do next, make sure to speak with an experienced NJ sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible. Click right here to make to make this happen.