When enough is enough
BY 鱼遨游 from 21st Century
Published 2013-03-04
导读:性骚扰(sexual harassment)已经成为一个非常普遍的社会问题。受害对象也不再仅限于女性。面对性骚扰,是应该忍气吞声,淡化影响,还是起身抗争呢?

Have you ever been inappropriately touched by strangers on crowded buses or subways? Have you ever received any suggestive text messages from people you barely know?

A recent survey conducted by students from the School of Public Health at Sun Yat-sen University found that 81 percent of the students they surveyed wanted to know how to protect themselves from sexual harassment, and 61 percent were worried about preventing it from occuring.

But what exactly is sexual harassment? “Sexual harassment can be defined as words or conduct of a sexual nature that create an embarrassing, hostile, humiliating or offensive situation for the victim,” said Chen Zuhui, a doctoral candidate of Public Health at Jinan University in Guangzhou.

According to him, it can involve a wide range of actions, including gestures, physical acts, sexual innuendos, and verbal demands for sexual favors. It can be as seemingly innocent as someone asking if you got laid over the weekend.

“Sometimes these signs are so subtle that it’s tough to recognize them. But don’t wait until they become serious before taking action,” Chen said.

“Sexual harassment is not a condition experienced just by women, men can face it as well,” he added.

Ma Xiaoli, 19, a sophomore majoring in journalism at Wuhan University, has experienced such issues. She noticed that several male students in her class frequently told dirty jokes in her presence, or sent her flirtatious text messages. Some of them even touched her when talking to her.

“I felt very uncomfortable about all this, but I didn’t know what to do,” she described. “I considered it too embarrassing to tell teachers or friends.”

Psychological experts warn that sexual harassment might start as a one-off event, but the moment it becomes routine a victim’s life can descend into a nightmare.

Liu Yanjie, deputy director of the Student Office at Xiamen University urges those affected by sexual harassment to take action. The first step is to clearly communicate the problem.

For instance, when a stranger makes an offensive remark toward you, you can politely tell him or her to stop. If someone touches you often, just say: “Could you please avoid putting your hands on me? It makes me uncomfortable”.

Chen also suggests being assertive in what you say. “Protest while there are other people around who can act as witnesses, and don’t laugh or smile or do anything else to make the harasser think you are joking,” he mentioned.

If this still doesn’t stop the offender, it’s wise to keep a record of all incidents that have occurred. Write down the timing and exactly what happened, as well as the names of people who saw it happen. Save any texts, sound recordings or pictures you receive as evidence.

It’s also important to speak out to others. “Don’t blame yourself. You didn’t ask to be harassed. Likewise, you shouldn’t deny what’s happening or downplay the effects of harassment,” said Guan Kuiling, a teacher of Psychological Consultation at the Ocean University of China.

Liu advises harassed students to go to an authority figure for help. “You can report an incident to a trusted teacher or other faculty members,” she said. “School administrators and campus police also have to ensure that your learning environment is free from sexual harassment.”

(Translator & Editor: 21英语 Butterface AND Aaron)
inappropriately  不合时宜的
suggestive  暗示性的
sexual  性的
hostile  敌对的,敌意的
humiliating  羞辱
innuendo  讽刺
verbal  口头的
subtle  微妙的
flirtatious  调情的
remark  评价
assertive  断言的
downplay  贬低,轻视,不予重视,轻描淡写
faculty  全体教职员