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Sexual Harassment and Assault: What are the rules?

When it comes to sexual harassment, and sexual assault; "no one knows the rules anymore". So the question I'm asking myself is: ...Really? I am currently hearing people in the media say this alarmingly frequently. In fact, I recently watched a political pundit speaking about this particular issue on one of the major news programs. He proceeded to state that kissing someone, or touching someone without consent does not equate to rape. This statement alone clearly demonstrates that no one knows what the are rules anymore.

What is Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment?

So if no one knows what the rules are anymore, or where we draw the line when it comes to sexual assault, harassment, and sexual violence, then how can we tell what these things actually are? It may be true that kissing someone, or touching someone without consent, and other similar behaviors do not equate to the legal definition of sexual assault (rape). However, the previously mentioned political pundit's statement minimizes the effect on the women, and gives justification to the behavior; which is wrong.

To eliminate doubt and confusion, here is the universal rule: individual states in America basically define sexual assault as anytime anyone does anything of a sexual nature without consent. And, just to be perfectly clear, one cannot consent when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or when subjected to intimidation.

Why do Men Treat Women as Objects?

Reasonable, good men know full well what consent looks like. Good men respect themselves and treat women the way they would want women close to them treated. Predatory men see women as objects; objects that are no more important to them than a chair. They would certainly not ask a chair for approval before they sit on it. It is something to use and disregard.

The bigger issue is truly the women who have been harmed. Little attention is given to them besides questioning why they waited, why they didn’t resist, and why they are making a big deal out of being kissed or touched without consent. The media does not seem to be properly addressing this concern. We sometimes wonder if the media is playing by a different set of rules in regards to sexual assault and misconduct.

Playing by Different Rules When it Comes to Sexual Assault

Sexual aggression, whether sexual assault, sexual harassment, partner violence and stalking are all about taking power away from someone for one’s own selfish gain. Who is to say how someone should feel? Perhaps some of the women who were “just” kissed had been assaulted in their past. The choices being taken away from them could trigger severe trauma. I would ask the people questioning the “rules” this:

"if you were confronted by a thief, and slapped would it be appropriate to minimize and question how you should feel as compared to if you were stabbed?"

The answer is no. People should not judge anything having to do with the women targeted by these men. The simple fact is that behavior is a function of choice. Al Franken, Matt Lauer, and the rest of these men make the choice to do something to these women without getting the woman's consent. No excuses!

If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual harassment, speak out. There is a good amount of support these days. You are not alone. Those in the media may not know what the rules are anymore, but at No Zebras, we do and there are No Excuses.

Contact us today to find out more about our stance on sexual assault, and harassment as well as our cutting edge prevention programs.


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