Sexual harassment includes any form of undesired verbal, non-verbal or physical action or sexual behaviour with the effect or intention to affect the dignity of a certain person, especially by attempting to create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, shaming or insulting environment. Sexual harassment is defined as a special form of discrimination, which is not tied to any personal circumstance.
- Example: Urška is employed as assistant chef in a kitchen where mostly men work. Initially, she is faced with comments and jokes from the superior, but these do not cease, and harassment only intensifies. This includes “random” inappropriate touching and inappropriate comments.
Sexual harassment can be expressed in different forms, i.e. as verbal conduct (e.g. suggestive comments and remarks, allusion, obscene comments, whistling, etc.), non-verbal conduct (sexually suggestive gesticulation, mimicry, displaying pornographic or sexually suggestive images, etc.) and physical actions (inappropriate touching, rubbing against a person, massage of various parts of the body, hugging, kissing, etc.).
Sometimes, based on context, it can also take the form of omission, e.g. deliberate ignoring, silence, unresponsiveness, etc. In case of sexual behaviour, it is about intervention in personal, not necessarily physical integrity of an individual. A special feature of sexual harassment is mainly in the fact that it is not necessary to seek a comparable position or another person who would have been a neutral criterion of sensitivity, as the basic criterion for the breach of dignity is own assessment of the affected person.
Some of the signs of sexual harassment can already meet the signs of sex crimes against sexual integrity (such as breach of sexual integrity through abuse of situation, sexual violence, rape, etc.).