OhioHealth Medical Minute: Awareness of Sexual Assault and Harassment
Do you know the difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault? Jeff Puster, campus prevention coordinator for OhioHealth Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) explains in this OhioHealth Medical Minute. It's important to know what those terms mean and how they are perpetuated.
According to Jeff, there’s a continuum of harm between sexual harassment and sexual assault. He says that sexual assault can include sexual touching/groping, physical force, fondling and rape, while sexual harassment can include things like crude comments, gestures that are gender-focused, vulgar photos, catcalls, whistles and unwanted flirting.
Jeff also points out that there are societal attitudes and behaviors that can be detrimental to the victim survivor. This includes:
- Victim blaming, which places the survivor in the role of being responsible for what happened to them
- Denying the existence of sexual violence or diminishing the severity of a behavior
- Objectifying people through slang and crude comments
- Gender norms that men should be in control and women should just follow and the belief that only men/boys should initiate sex
He says that our culture can support sexual assault and harrassement. Examples include:
- Media, movies, tv – can normalize harmful behavior as romantic or seductive – like kissing someone when they say ‘no’, stalking, etc.
- Language – use of jokes and phrases that minimize harmful behavior – like “boys will be boys,” and other locker room talk/antics that are deemed socially acceptable
- Unfair dress codes
- ‘Policing’ boys or men who act different than the stereotypical “real man”