The victim-blaming, the apathy, the indifference, and sometimes contempt and hostility women face from police, from family members, from teachers, from hospital personnel, and from judges and juries are informed by women's social identities, locations, and histories. The mostly negative responses to women who experience violence are often as hurtful as the incidents because they reinforce the messages that women are to blame, that women deserve to be abused, that women accept oppression, and that women are unworthy of social justice.
Sexual harassment is defined as "unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature" (Dobrich 2002, p. 4). It is common for female employees to be subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Although not illegal per se, such behavior is illegal when it is used by managers and supervisors to decide whether to hire or fire someone; when it is used to determine pay, promotion, or job assignment; and when it creates a hostile, or offensive work environment. "Examples of verbal harassment could include sexual comments, suggestions, jokes, or innuendos; nonverbal harassment could include suggestive looks, leering, or ogling; and physical harassment could include accidentally brushing against someone's body, 'friendly' pats, squeezes or pinches, and forced exual relations" ( Webb, 1981, p. 5 cited Howard 2007, p. 7). In the last thirty years, the feminist struggle to end sexual harassment against women has sought to create language to describe, to protest, and to transform the conditions of our lives. Activists created and redefined terms such as "battered woman, " "wife battering, " and "sexual harassment, " among others, to clarify the social and political ramifications of interpersonal/institutional violence against women. Yet this language often gets incorporated into a social landscape that pathologizes women rather than critically analyzes the social underpinnings of the violence. As bell hooks says of the term "battered woman" (Vivian and Pharm 1998).
Signs of sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment involves the victimization, the isolation, the lack of support, the pain of betrayal, or the despair of battery and rape in women's lives. Women continue to live in communities where intimate, intragroup abuse and violence are not recognized and it's necessary to describe their painful realities. If we are in denial of the ways in which we have been victimized, then personal change and social transformation are impossible. Speaking out about the harm done and labeling the experiences as battering, rape, incestuous assault, and/or attempted murder are essential components of healing, recovery, self-determination and social change (Howard 2007). However, identifying women who've experienced abuse as only or predominantly victims and survivors of abuse, violence, battering, and rape eventually reinforces our status as victims by reducing us to what someone else did to us. When we only describe the individual damage to each other and when we solely seek validation and support for the individual pain endured, it can lead to depression and despair (MacKinnon 2003).