Sexual harassment and long-term effects

Sexual harassment: “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical constitute sexual harassment”. This is what is defined as sexual harassment in Ohio. There are many different reasons you or another person could be accused of sexual harassment. For example, some of the simplest reasons can be insulting a woman, “exposing oneself [public nudity] or performing sexual acts on oneself”, or just unwanted physical contact. These offenses might not seem as bad as you might have thought, but these are just the minimal offenses of sexual harassment. The more severe forms of sexual harassment can be requesting sexual favors from another person or sending unwanted sexually explicit photos without the receiving ends consent via. Email, text etc.

Sexual harassment is more than you might think it can have unwanted long-term effects on the receiving end of the harassment. Some mental effects can be anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD, difficulty concentrating, loss of motivation, substance abuse, suicidal ideation etc. There are a lot other physical effects that a person may or may not have or feel such as increased stress levels, reoccurring headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances and even eating disturbances. These symptoms mostly occur from severe forms of sexual harassment or even sexual assault.

You might not have been sexually harassed but it is important to know what to do when it does happen to you or someone you know. There are many ways you can become a bystander to sexual harassment. The first option is to create a distraction, do what you can to interrupt the harassment or distract those taking part in the harassment. Make sure that you aren’t putting you or anyone else in danger by doing this. If someone is acting in a violent way do NOT draw their attention. Second, you can talk with the person being harassed. Talk directly with the person who is being harassed and see if they actually feel they are being harassed. You can also ask the person if you can accompany them anytime they have to meet or talk to the harasser. This method can morally help the person and reduce the chances of another harassment. The third option is to refer to an authority. You do not need to obvious about it, you can even be anonymous about it. This is primally the safest option since you can tell a trustworthy adult or whatever higher power you can, they usually will be glad to step in or monitor the situation for any further sexual harassment. The fourth option can be risky but is still effective in the right situation. Group up, its exactly as it sounds, finding others to help the conflicting problem. Its hard to step on alone so, you can gather other students or co-workers in order to confront the harasser. This option can be risky in case the harasser is hostile and may hurt you or other peoples in your group.

Sexual assault can be described “rape” or “sexual battery”. Both crimes are severely punished under state law but cover a different range of sexual contact and levels of force or intimidation. Rape is any form of unwanted sexual conduct without the victim’s consent. Usually, this is accomplished by force, intimidation, or the threat of force. Even just having sex offenses in Ohio means much more than possible jail time. It could be an end to your reputation and career that can funnel you into a hole that is hard to escape. Rape can land you in jail 1-5 years or fines punishable up to $15,000. A person who is 18 years or older can be charged with this offense if they knowingly or irresponsibly participated in sexual conduct with a minor who is between 13 and 16 years of age.

Ohio classifies felony and misdemeanor sexual offenses into five categories namely; first, second, third, fourth and fifth/minor. While first degree felonies carry the most serious offenses and the harshest penalties. The fifth/minor degree offenses are the least serious and hold lesser penalties behind them. Peoples who are found guilty of sexual offenses most the time face stern penalties that may not only include harsh fines and long terms of incarceration, but also possible requirements to sign up as a sex offender in the Ohio sex offender registry. This can be for years or in the worst scenarios can be life.

Sex offender registry can break your life and career into pieces. Registering can be a harsh hill to overcome because you can get fired and have trouble getting jobs because of your registry. At times, the judge rules that some sex offenders be subject to community notification. In such cases, deputies must give personal notice to schools, neighbors and municipal law enforcement agencies about the offender’s location. With a registry, you are not allowed near schools, parks or anywhere there might be minors. This is what really cripples the rest of your life.

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