Many of us are reluctant to talk about sexual harassment. Perhaps we think it’s normal, we feel as though we should be grateful for the attention, or we’ve been made to feel ashamed of what has happened to us.
The reality is that sexual harassment happens to many of us on a regular basis and it’s important we talk about those experiences, to break the stigma surrounding it and challenge the idea that it’s just something that happens.
You could start by asking your friends about the last time they experienced sexual harassment: What happened? Where and when? How did it make them feel? Make sure not to pass judgement on their experience or imply that they are responsible for it — remember, no one asks for it!
If you’ve never experienced sexual harassment, try asking your friends who have what you could do to support them and how they would like you to respond if it happened again while you were present. Perhaps they’d like you to walk home from lectures as a group because they keep getting wolf-whistled, or maybe the next time someone gropes them in a club they’d like you to get between them and the perpetrator.
Just listening can be really powerful.