Sexual Harassment - What is a Myth and What is Reality? (2016)

This infographic distinguishes commonly held myths from the realities of sexual harassment.

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Sexual harassment is no big deal

  • It is an invention of feminists
  • Women exaggerate the impacts
  • It’s not like she was raped
It is a violation of human rights.

It is a violation of various federal, provincial/territorial and/or municipal legislations.
It is a “deviant” or rare event

  • Men who harass must be perverse, ugly, sexually frustrated – not regular guys
  • It only happens to women in male-dominated fields

Sexual harassment is a widespread problem.

Anyone can be sexually harassed; however, subordinated groups (e.g. women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities) are targeted more often.

Street harassment can be sexist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, sizeist and/or classist.
It is “normal” behaviour between sexes

  • It’s innocent flirtation/sexual attraction
  • Women are being hypersensitive
It is not part of courtship; nor about unrequited love or romantic attraction.

It is often used to express power over another person.

It is discrimination.

He didn’t mean to do it

  • He was having fun/drinking and got carried away
  • He’s a good guy/my friend/coworker
Sexual harassment is intentional behaviour.

Often, it re-asserts gender, race, age or class hierarchies within environments (school, work, street) in harmful ways.

Stopping/reporting sexual harassment is easy

  • Women file reports lightly
  • Women easily gain the upper hand by reporting She can verbally protest
  • She can avoid harm if she wants to
There are many barriers to reporting that silence women or lead them to minimize, ignore or “put up” with harassment.

Sometimes reporting creates additional problems for victims: e.g. s/he may be ostracized by co-workers, not believed, or pay for being a “whistle-blower”.

Reactions” to sexual harassment are the real problem

  • Results in political correctness
  • Ruins “normal relationships”
  • Stops people from having fun
Sexual harassment causes negative consequences (e.g. poor health, loss of earning potential).

Its repercussions should never be blamed on the person being harassed.

She asked for it

  • She chose to work in a male environment
  • She wears sexy clothes
Everyone has the right to learn, work and be in settings free from discrimination.

This infographic emerged from Issue-Based Newsletter 13: Sexual and Gender-based Harassment.