April 26, 2019 - Comments Off on Flirting vs Harassment: How To Spot the Difference
A playful text message. A quick side hug. Staring from across the room.
The line between flirting and harassment is thin and often a blurred one. What could feel good to one person may be an unwelcome act to another. How would you spot the difference between the two? The answer is summed up in one word - consent.
Sexual Harassment as a term is commonly defined as requests for sexual favours, unwelcome sexual advances, or even any physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature in public, at the workplace or anywhere else.
Any act without consent would be considered as harassment and any sexual activity without consent is considered as sexual assault. An activity whether casual or sexual requires consent and the level of comfort and its extent should be clearly communicated or else there could exist a possibility of it qualifying as a a form of harassment.
Harassment is degrading, demeaning, unwanted and often has a power dynamic involved . There is no grey area when it comes to consent and an affirmative. Enthusiastic and specific answer is the way to follow . Yes is yes and no is a clear no. Consent should be explicit and there should be no room for assuming that the other person feels the same way as the other. No assumptions should be made regarding consent and it is essential for it to be clear cut and explicit.
What positive consent looks like:
- An affirmative “yes” or “I am okay with this”
- Clearly communicating and asking “Would you agree/be ok to this?”
- Consent is without any sort of threat, intimidation, fraud or violence
- Has boundaries which are well defined and very specific
What consent does not look like:
- Pressuring someone or constantly insisting to welcome any advances even when the other person says no or looks uncomfortable
- Assuming that yes once is a yes every time
- Being in a committed relationship with someone doesn’t mean you have their consent forever and on everything
Always remember that consent is always offered by the person’s own free will and without any influence of anything and/or anyone.
Take consent as FRIES
F- Freely Given , R- Reversible , I- Informed, E- Enthusiastic, S- Specific
If you feel pressured into sharing your pictures and doing acts which make you feel uncomfortable and you need any advice or are feeling distressed, you can call on the Cyber Harassment Helpline on 0800-39393 from 9AM to 5PM.
Written by: Asma Parvez
Published by: Digital Rights Foundation in Blog