These days, it seems as if sexual harassment and abuse are constantly in the news. Since the New York Times' bombshell report on the sexual abuse accusations against Harvey Weinstein was published, more people have come forward about their own alleged experiences in Hollywood as well as other industries and institutions.
Now, as the nation's conversation turns to sexual abuse in a way it hasn't before, some people have begun to ask what counts as sexual harassment or assault.
To that end, research company Barna surveyed 1,000 Americans about the behaviors they think count as harassment, and the answers may surprise you — or not.
It's probably not surprising, for one thing, that men are less likely than women to think behaviors that don't involve physical touch can count as harassment. While most Americans (91% of women and 83% of men) believed "being forced to do something sexual" counted as harassment, 24% of men felt that flashing someone didn't count, and 30% believed that making sexual comments about someone's body didn't constitute harassment.
However, another noteworthy tidbit from the survey is just how many behaviors were even listed in the first place. From sharing intimate photos or videos without permission to pushing against someone on public transit to not taking no for an answer when it comes to dates, it's becoming clear that we're beginning to explore more possible forms of harassment than we have in the past. The range of behaviors, Barna's report says, shows "how insidious the problem of sexual harassment is."
It's not necessarily that these behaviors are happening more often now — but perhaps we're beginning to gain a wider understanding of what we think of as sexual harassment or sexual assault.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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