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Compiled by Asanda Mbayimbayi

Are you being sexually harassed? Look out for these five signs

Over time, harassment can be traumatic and lead to depression or anxiety, or symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

MTV Shuga Down South, a popular TV series, has returned with new and engaging storylines that tackle important issues.

The latest season focuses on the experiences of young people facing various challenges, including different types of sexual harassment.

The MTV Staying Alive Foundation, the organisation behind the series, has been independently evaluated and their campaigns, including the award-winning drama series, have shown positive impacts.

Sexual harassment
Picture: iStock

MTV Shuga’s influence

Viewers of MTV Shuga in South Africa have adopted more preventive measures against HIV, and viewers in Nigeria have reported changes in attitudes and behaviours related to sexual health, contraception, and sexual violence, according to studies by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Tulane University.

Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome and inappropriate sexual behaviour, which can take different forms like verbal, non-verbal, physical, cyber, and workplace harassment.

A report from Statistics South Africa highlights a concerning 9.6% increase in sexual offences during the last quarter of 2022, indicating the presence of a widespread rape culture that affects many South Africans.

ALSO READ: Signs of PTSD you need to know

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

Five types of sexual harassment

1. Verbal sexual harassment

Verbal sexual harassment is when someone says or does things of a sexual nature that make another person feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or offended.

It includes using sexually explicit language, making inappropriate remarks or jokes, commenting on someone’s appearance or body in a sexual way, and using derogatory terms or offensive language.

It also involves using sexual language to insult or belittle someone because of their gender.

2. Non-verbal

Non-verbal sexual harassment happens when someone behaves in a way that is sexual and unwelcome, but without using words.

It can include gestures, actions, or expressions that make the other person feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

For example, winking, leering, or making facial expressions that are sexual or offensive, and invading someone’s personal space without permission.

It can also involve standing too close or touching someone in a way that feels intrusive or inappropriate.

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

3. Physical

Physical sexual harassment happens when someone touches or behaves in a sexual way towards another person without their permission.

It can involve things like unwanted touching, grabbing, blocking someone’s path, exposing private parts, or forcing sexual acts on someone without their agreement.

4. Cyber/online sexual harassment

This is when people use the internet, social media, or messaging apps to do things that are sexual and unwelcome to others.

This can include sending explicit messages, sharing private photos without permission, stalking someone online, creating fake profiles to trick or harm others, or having inappropriate sexual conversations.

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

5. Workplace

Workplace sexual harassment occurs when people experience unwanted sexual advances, comments, or actions at their job.

This can include situations where someone asks for sexual favours in exchange for job benefits, promotions, or job security.

It also includes creating an uncomfortable work environment by making frequent or severe sexual comments, jokes, gestures, or other behaviours that interfere with a person’s ability to work and create a hostile or offensive atmosphere.

Sexual and physical harassment is a serious violation of a person’s rights and can cause harm to their well-being. It is important for victims of sexual harassment to seek help and support.

NOW READ: Are you suffering from trauma? Here are 8 trauma signs

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