The Psychology Of Sexual Harassment And Abuse

The unwelcomed sexual conduct of any physical, visual, and verbal approach is considered harassment. It is a pervasive situation where it puts the victim into a hostile environment. It allows predators to take advantage of their prey by any means or form of abuse if necessary.

There are many types of abuse a person can suffer from in their life — emotional, physical, sexual, and psychological — to name just a few of the more common ones,” according to psychologist John M. Grohol, Psy.D.


Three Parts Of Sexual Abuse

Visual – Visuals of sexual abuse include pictures, videos, drawings, texts, emails, and posters of any kind related to nudity and pornography. It is often an effective way to manipulate the victim through wanting to have sexual relations. Sometimes, the visual representation of an attempt for sexual intentions usually gets away due to variable definitions. The images, text messages, and videos are somehow considered as an art, content without malice, and documentary files.

Verbal – It is a category of sexual abuse that focuses on the person’s body, clothing, and appearance. Sometimes, it can be sexual or gender-based remarks or jokes. In some unfortunate instances, it could be a blunt request of sexual interaction, spreading rumors about someone else’s sexual life, and a constant blab about obscene or foul language. Most predators are recognizable due to their persistent sexual innuendos such as cat-calling and over-closeness. Sometimes they even resort to threats or sexual extortion.

Physical – Sexual assault relates to physical movement through inappropriate touching on the sensitive areas of the victim’s body. These include rubbing, hugging, groping, kissing, stroking, leering or staring, and any sexual gesturing. It is the most obvious form of sexual harassment that can unquestionably lead to the attempt of indulging a sexual abuse.


When Should You React?

Sexual harassment doesn’t limit its victim on age, ethnicity, gender, or race. All people are capable of harassing someone, and all of them can also become a victim. It becomes standardized when any type of remarks, physical interaction, and visual representation puts a person in an uncomfortable feeling.

A person who experiences sexual abuse shouldn’t have to wait for a “go signal” before he or she reacts. Under no circumstances should you pretend to like unwanted advances,” suggests Joni E. Johnston, Psy.D. It is essential to understand that when the harassment is subsequently going on, there’s a need for an immediate confrontation. However, some scenarios won’t support all the claim of the victim, and sometimes it can even turn the situation around. That’s the reason why some people ignore the signs of sexual abuse.


The psychology of sexual harassment and abuse is a broad topic. However, due to the lack of information, policy, and punishment, it is often ignored. When there is a complete act of lewdness, people usually let it slip away and never complain about it. Sometimes it is due to fear to the harasser, judgment from other people, and ignorance of the situation that hinders them to react. However, those reasons shouldn’t have to mean a thing. Victims must learn to understand the different types of this sexual harassment and abuse so they can confidently do something about it. It’s understandable that some cases will be unavoidable, but it doesn’t mean that the situation is uncontrollable. Sexual abuse is something that people would never dream of experiencing. As what Marty Klein, Ph.D., a certified sex therapist and a licensed psychotherapist said, “Walking away is optional, and certainly acceptable.”