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Sexual Harassment: The Myths & Realities

We’ve spoken about sexual consent and what it means.

But now it’s time to draw a clear line around what counts as sexual harassment and what doesn’t.

Let’s debunk some common myths.

Myth #1: Women who dress a certain way or get drunk in public are asking to be sexually harassed.

Truth: People who say such things are participating in victim-blaming. Experts explain victim-blaming as any time a victim is questioned or blamed for an attack made on them.

An example is blaming a woman for being raped based on what she was wearing.

Or, to make it simpler, imagine telling someone that you were mugged walking back home at night only for that person to say it's your fault for walking at night.

Victim-blaming doesn't help us solve the problem. Instead, it makes excuses for the problem and the perpetrator.

Myth #2: Men can’t be sexually harassed.

Truth: Men, just like women are vulnerable to sexual harassment. The same can be said of, little boys and girls.

However, men are usually more hesitant to speak out on being sexually harassed because of the very misconception that a man can't be violated sexually.

Myth #3: Sexual harassment can only be a physical act.

Truth: Catcalling - shouting sexual comments to women or constantly proposing your love to someone who’s told you they aren’t interested in you, are examples of sexual harassment.

These examples can make someone feel unsafe, objectified and uncomfortable.

Effects of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment can have some serious psychological effects on its victims.

From depression to anxiety and even suicide, those who are violated sexually can end up traumatized and living in intense pain.

What to do if you’re sexually harassed?

Help is all around you! You can reach out to your family members or your friends.

You can also get free expert advice from organizations in Nigeria dedicated to helping anyone heal from sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

Have a look at our list of helpline numbers to see if there’s an organization that you can reach out too.

Can you think of other myths & realities to add to this list? Add them in the comments section.

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