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  • Writer's pictureThe Feminist Times

Sexual Harassment and Consent

To many, Harassment and Consent may seem like a cliche or an unwanted discussion, that is where most of us stumble, even as “woke” citizens of this generation. This is, in fact, the time of the third wave of

feminism, which deals with all things that the First and the Second Wave of Feminism overlooked. This phase addresses all that was left out in the previous phases which have in turn prevented us from creating an egalitarian society. So why not let Harassment and Consent appear on the stand.

Sexual Harassment, in the simplest terms, refers to any unwelcome behaviour of sexual nature.

This includes anything said, done or even indicated by a person that makes one uncomfortable.

Common perception only paints women as the victims while men have shown equal disgust and discomfort when placed in similar situations.

Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to name calling, cat calling, demanding sexual favors, unsolicited physical contact, producing any audio or visuals of sexual nature which may be perceived as predatory, and leering. The problem? Adolescents of ages even below 10 have been observed displaying this behaviour.

The beginnings of this behaviour may be visible in several desks of school with essentially

aggressive and sexual engravings and in unfiltered conversations among teenagers. Sexual

history, wants and fantasies are nothing to be ashamed of, but making someone ill at ease is definitely questionable. This is where consent comes in. Consent, in so many words, is basically your agreement or

disagreement to participate in a particular activity. It is almost, but not quite the question of a “yes or no”. But it is by no means simple or plain sailing.

Any physical or verbal sign or vexation, disinterest of any of their relatives should be taken as a clear NO. Be very vocal and open about what is acceptable and what rattles you. Even with your partners, have open conversations regarding everything you are, and are not willing to do in public or in private. Among your peers, have an agreed upon unique word, which once

uttered by anyone within earshot, the conversation must cease in all effectiveness. Many people

have reported to play along with unsettling situations due to intimidation or dread of consequences. These reports include men and women both being the victims and the perpetrators.

Any behaviour of sexual nature that has you squirming in your seat is harassment and a sighting of that squirm makes it your humanitarian duty to terminate the cause of it. There is nothing that confines the demographics of the problem. It ranges over all age groups, genders

and settings. “No” is not a widely accepted reaction to anything and that is the problem. Fun and harassment are really only one syllable apart and that is where the buck stops.

-Apoorva Panda

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