Common Forms of Sexual Harassment

A key concept here is "unwelcome." Obviously the most extreme forms of sexual harassment (assault and rape) are, by definition, unwelcome. At the other end of the spectrum, sexual comments and jokes, for example, may or may not be unwelcome. In a climate in which "he" or "she" is acting humanely, we should all be forthright about and sensitive to what is unwelcome, that is, what constitutes sexual harassment.

This list may help you to understand the wide range of common forms of harassment.

  • Sexist comments
  • Sexual innuendoes, comments, and remarks
  • Suggestive, obscene, or insulting sounds
  • Humor or jokes about sex or gender in general
  • Sexual propositions, invitations, or other pressure for sex
  • Implied or overt threats
  • Patting, pinching, brushing up against the body, and any other inappropriate touching or feeling
  • Attempted or actual kissing or fondling
  • Insistent invitations for drinks, dinner, dates
  • Sending lewd cartoons, cards, presents, or letters
  • Leering
  • Obscene gestures
  • Assault and rape