Home Article What Is Sexual Harassment How To Deal With It If The Abuser Is A Family Member?

What Is Sexual Harassment How To Deal With It If The Abuser Is A Family Member?

Updated On 31 Jul, 2018 Published On 31 Jul, 2018
What Is Sexual Harassment  How To Deal With It If The Abuser Is A Family Member?

Sexual harassments, assaults, and abuses are crimes which are completely unacceptable and more often than not committed in the privacy of homes by those close to you. This makes it as much shameful as it is unacceptable.

There's a scary statistic that one in every three women get raped in her lifetime while one in seven boys are sexually assaulted before they turn 18. Calling it merely scary might actually be an understatement.

Sexual harassments, assaults, and abuses are crimes which are completely unacceptable and more often than not committed in the privacy of homes by those close to you. This makes it as much shameful as it is unacceptable.

Before we jump into how to deal with sexual harassments, it's essential to understand what sexual harassment actually is.

What Is Sexual Harassment?       

In a very basic sense, any unwanted sexual behavior is sexual harassment. This includes any unwelcome, sexually determined physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct.

Often the harasser is in the position of power or authority, but it could occur between equals, co-workers, colleagues, peers as well. Men are sometimes harassed while the majority of victims are women.

To better understand harassment in a practical scenario; imagine kissing a random woman on the street, that would be classed as harassment. On the other hand, kissing a woman who is on a date with you would not be harassment. However, it would qualify as one if you did so despite the clear indication that it was unwanted.

Examples of sexual harassment include instances such as pressure for sexual contact, demands for sex in return for a benefit, suggestive comments, and sexual jokes.

Usually, it includes any, a few, or all of the following unwelcome acts or behaviors

  • Physical contact or advances

  • A demand or request for sexual favors

  • Making sexually colored remarks

  • Showing pornography

  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature

Talking of sexual harassment in family dynamics, it is often complex. There is usually excessive negativity, while other family members are likely to be involved. There arises a fear that people you care about will be forced to pick sides or worse they might choose to go against you.

On the other hand, cutting off ties completely with the abusive family member may not be easy nor practical. This creates a dilemma on how to deal with an abusive family member. Although it's difficult, the following are some of the steps that could be taken.

Maintain Distance

If your family member won't stop harassing you despite your requests, you are needed to take more concrete actions to protect yourself.  What you should be wary of is not giving any indication that you are interested in any sort of contact.

Abandon unnecessary phone calls, never initiate conversation even in family gatherings, and do not discuss the relationship with other family members who could strive for a reconciliation. Moreover, refrain from behaviors that involve reciprocity.

Source: Hack the Union

Try your best to process your feelings and improve your coping skills interacting with a trustworthy person. A counselor or therapist could come in handy if you feel you need such assistance.

Issue A Written Warning

Your family member could be harassing you in a variety of ways. These include showing up at your home uninvited, persistent phone calls, excessive contacts in social media, and stalking.

You could issue a verbal warning describing the specific harassing behavior. However, according to an online legal newspaper The Complete Lawyer, writing is preferable as it is a means of documentation.

After providing the warning in writing indicating it is completely unacceptable, you are no longer obliged to engage in any kind of argument.

Set Strong Boundaries

Even after the clear warning, if the harassment does not look to be slowing down - you are needed to set firm boundaries.

Blocking the number, using strict privacy on social media, reducing your attendance to family gatherings, and requesting people close to you to not discuss your life with the harassing party, are recommended.

These actions won't be easy to pull off and often emotionally painful, even making you wonder if you are just punishing yourself. However, these do not need to be permanent, while it will eventually help you gain a peace of mind.

Report Law Enforcement

If there is even a minimal indication that harassment could escalate to physical harm, report the events to law enforcement ASAP. Your family member is likely to be held accountable via criminal harassment charges.

Source: TLNT

Contacting law enforcement also makes you eligible to gain an order of protection, legally forbidding your family member to harass you in any shape or form, violation of which will result in criminal charges.

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