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Common myths about sexual harassment and sexual violence

Common myths about sexual harassment and sexual violence

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The majority of Americans agree that sexual harassment and sexual violence is terrible and need to be addressed in our society.

What isn’t so clear are the myths surrounding sexual violence against women. Whether it’s because of poor public education or a simple refusal to address these issues, not everyone is clear on what constitutes sexual harassment and violence. For example, some people still believe victims provoke sexual assaults when they dress provocatively or act in a promiscuous manner. Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence that are unrelated to how women dress. Proactive clothing and promiscuous behaviors are not signs that women consent to sex.

Another myth involving sexual harassment is considering a woman being in someone’s home or room counts as consent. Even if a woman does go to someone’s room and engages in a sexual act, it does not serve as blanket consent for all sexual activity. If in doubt, the aggressor should ask if the activity is OK. If someone says no or stop, then the sexual activity should be halted.

Women may be more likely to be victims of sexual assault but that doesn’t mean men are never victims too. Both men and women can be victims or perpetrators of sexual harassment and/or rape.

What should someone do if he or she is the target of unwanted sexual advances? Some believe that sexual harassment will go away if they simply ignore it. But research shows that harassers generally will not stop on their own. Ignoring unwanted behavior can even be falsely interpreted as encouragement.

The line between sexual harassment and flirting is not always so clear. Flirting often involves reciprocation, flattery and compliments, while sexual harassment is one-sided, demeaning and degrading.

To help prevent sexual violence, limits should be set as early as possible. Limiting your alcohol and drug intake should also be considered. If you are with friends and they share concern, you should listen to them.

Unfortunately, women (and men) are still targets of sexual assault, despite the abundant amount of accessible education about sexual violence. Some women feel more comfortable speaking with women attorneys about their sexual assault experience rather than speaking with male attorneys. Having a woman attorney can also give victims some advantage when it comes to juries. Some studies have shown that women are viewed more favorably than men in the courtroom, which can translate to juries seeing women as more honest, trustworthy and more relatable than their male counterparts.

If you are a woman who suffered a sexual assault in South Florida, contact the Bacchus Law Firm to get the justice you deserve. Our firm started the Florida Women’s Law Center to help women navigate the court system. Contact us at (844)444-Women or visit our office at 401 E Las Olas Blvd. #1400 in. Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

About The Author
Nisha E. Bacchus
Nisha E. Bacchus is an attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She is the founder of The Bacchus Law Firm. Her practice is focused on complex family law litigation issues, criminal defense matters, corporate litigation cases, and personal injury claims. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Bacchus graduated with Honors from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice an ...read more


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