Dating sexual questions concerns
Both male and female victims reported feeling pressure to be “chill” when physical touch or sex acts were forced on them.
Women are reconsidering sexual contact they’ve had with gay men—both as targets and culprits of misconduct—and contemplating when a compliment becomes street harassment.
Some of these women had already recognized certain incidents from their past as harassment or abuse.
Others have been forced by this interminable news cycle to relive, reconsider, and reclassify some of the things men have done to them against their will or to search for boundaries in the mess of human interaction.
Now, we must contend with the knowledge that the everyday woman, by virtue of existing in the public sphere, has endured untold violations.
By legal definition, sexual harassment is unwelcome or unwanted; if it’s welcome or wanted, it’s not harassment.
The baked-in subjectivity of this definition, combined with the large-scale recalibration of this moment, has allowed space for some people to wonder whether cracking down on sexual harassment will put an end to all friendly flirtation.
It’s not just that our collective understanding of the prevalence of harassment has changed; it’s that our understanding of the very definition of has been called into question.
The definition will grow more capacious as we retrain our antennae to categorize certain male behavior as threatening that we’d previously been conditioned to dismiss or ignore.
We also asked our respondents to offer examples of incidents that, for them, fell into a “gray area”—a category of behavior that isn’t unequivocally harassment, whether because of the intent of the perpetrator, the reception of the target, or the severity of the offense.