The recent #MeToo movement has been bringing more and more powerful men out of the woodworks, unveiling all kinds of sexual encounters over the decades. From film producer Harvey Weinstein and reporter Matt Lauer through to Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson, the news has been rife with scandal.
These examples have been encouraging more (both men and women) to speak out about their sexual assault and harassment experiences. It also has others questioning encounters – but what constitutes as sexual assault vs harassment?
Sexual harassment is a big problem in Australia, affecting one in five women in the workplace, and one in 20 men in the workplace. It includes any unwanted sexual behaviour that makes a victim feel offended, humiliated or intimidated and is a type of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment can be obvious or indirect and can be an ongoing issue or a one-off.
The Australian Human Rights Commission explains sexual harassment includes the following:
Sexual assault is the scope of unwanted sexual behaviours that are used by the perpetrator to assume power or control over their victim, making them feel uncomfortable or threatened.
That means sexual assault can range from the following:
Sexual assault also includes 'sexual violence' which can include false promises, insistent pressure, abusive comments or threats to illicit sexual acts. The range of psychological and emotional impact of experiencing a sexual assault varies from no effect to severe trauma.
It's important to understand that no matter how long ago these experiences happened, you may still be able to take action against the perpetrator as their actions can have lifelong damaging effects.
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