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Discussion » Questions » Life and Society » Is sexual harassment the same thing as sexual abuse or sexual assault?

Is sexual harassment the same thing as sexual abuse or sexual assault?

An acquaintance of mine, who oddly enough happens to be a therapist and gives talks on sexual assault and women's rights, recently took to Facebook to rally the troops around her recent "sexual assault," going so far as to name the perpetrator and everyone involved. She initially used the phrase "sexual assault" and then used the phrase "sexual abuse" later. 

The gist of the story is, she was at a club dancing and some guy asked her inappropriate questions about her nipples. She got mad and told the manager. The manager didn't respond. She then phoned the police with the intent to press sexual assault charges. Nothing came of it. The police told her she was not assaulted, but she insists she was and is now calling out everyone who "wronged" her that night by name insisting they're further victimizing the victim of an assault. Every single person (and now there are dozens) who responded is supporting her, and now the discussion has changed into "This is why women don't report rapes." 

I'm obviously not going to kick off a you-know-what storm and offer my thoughts there, but I think the whole thing is insane. Sure, the guy was a jerk. What he did was sexual harassment and the manager should have taken some kind of action. But, in my opinion, what happened to her was NOT sexual assault or abuse. Her pushing the issue like she is trivializes genuine assault and abuse cases.

Curious to know your thoughts- do you consider harassment, assault, and abuse to be the same thing? And/Or how should this incident have been handled by the management and the woman?

Posted - May 14, 2019


  • 7816
    I'm not entirely sure what prompted you to respond the way you did to me. I feel like you've not only taken what I've said out of context, but took it personally. 

    There was no gotcha. It never occurred to me that anyone may look for causes as to why the man felt justified in his comments. When you made assumptions about attire, the information became relevant. I don't think it was relevant before. 

    I never said my bust was a handicap. I said the fact that I have one does not give a man the right to walk up to me and make sexual remarks about it, just as that woman having nipples, even if they were visible, would not give that man the right to make sexual remarks to her.

    I never attempted to inform you about movements happening decades ago. I mentioned #MeToo as it pertained to a discussion you and I had about the movement because, in that discussion, I mentioned that I thought it was important for women to speak up about their assaults. I mentioned that just now out of support for you because you said people think you're a freak for discussing it. I do not. I support you. If that came across in any other way, I can assure you that is not what I meant. It was supposed to be solidarity. 

    The only reason I mentioned telling/ not telling/ circumstances was because I was realizing there was some chance I was part of a discussion in which you, the victim, may have felt personally persecuted. That's crap. I was ticked at myself if that was the case. it's one thing to have an open dialogue and friendly/ supportive discussion, but it's a wholly different thing to make a woman feel attacked because she chose not to report an assault. I don't want you to feel that way. You should not have to feel like you need to defend yourself and your decisions, especially not about something so personal. If I have EVER made you feel that way, I am deeply sorry. 

    As far as your last comment goes, we are different. Very different. That's why I like to engage with you. That's why I like asking you questions and picking things apart with you. Yes, we have many similarities as well. That's also why I like picking things apart with you. I learn a lot from our discussions. You're intelligent and candid. I've never felt like you were boxing me in- at least not that I can recall. I have my opinions and most are probably predictable at this point, but I turn my critical eye on myself and examine my own thought processes too. That's not something I reserve for you. You can see me doing it to myself in the post above, where I recognized I had information I didn't share and started questioning whether that information changed my own stance. The discussion with you opened my eyes to my own thought processes. I love that. I really do. I'm as obsessed with my own thought processes as I am everyone else's. I could see how that might make it seem like I'm treating you as if we're a different species, but I do that to myself too. That doesn't excuse it if I'm making you feel bad, but please know that is never my intent. I just enjoy learning what people think and why they think the way they do, especially when I don't share the same viewpoints. This post was edited by Just Asking at May 16, 2019 6:14 AM MDT
      May 15, 2019 10:16 PM MDT

  • 5914
    Seems to me I am becoming more like Sharon and Rosie every week on here. Because aging we realize there is not so much time left to impart any of the wisdom we have been able to gain from our experience.  Being young, though we did not know much, there was such a feeling we were all entering into a brave new world where we were going to change things for all of us.  Discouraging to realize little has changed and in fact seems instead we have come up with so much new nonsense to hold us back.  Things we that we did not even think of back then.  When we are not trying to re-invent the wheel every twenty years. So amazing how so little of it seemed to take.  Throw a penny into a bowl and it clatters to the bottom where it lies still.  No resonance at all.  

    In one of your posts of perhaps a year and a half ago you said something to the effect that I was a novelty.  I believe that was the word you used.  Quite startling to read that as there is nothing new or novel about me.    When I want to see myself as expressing the gained wisdom of a certain number of years of life.  Something of a shock to realize that wisdom has no relevance at all for most people any longer and I only stand out as some kind of unusual period piece.  And when I die it will all just die with me. 

    I guess we find upsetting anything which challenges any assumptions we have come to lovingly hold and upon which we have chosen to build our life.  My life has been a walk in the part compared to what you have gone through and continue to go through.  Yet you possess the kinds of interest and intelligence and enthusiasm I could never hope to muster.  Which is why it sort of breaks my heart when I see you using them sometimes to limit yourself rather than to spread your wings and fly.  Perhaps an unsuitable metaphor but I think it expresses how I feel. The feeling that I have had to go through so much - of course for myself but also for you in the sense that any ground I may have broken, anything  I may have done, should now be more easily available to you as well.  That it is not is frustrating. 

    I want to focus on our "commonalities" - what we have in common - while you see mostly our differences.  I express my dissatisfaction with the eternities  which you seem to interpret only in terms of my personal hurt.  I want us to get beyond all that because I truly believe we are beyond that.  I want to give you the keys to the kingdom but you are not sure my kingdom is even  for you! 

     I have made very clear how much I appreciate what you are able to bring to this site.  And how much I appreciate your willingness to keep it going for us. Though our journeys may be different yes we can learn from one another but also strengthen one another in other ways as well. 
      May 16, 2019 7:06 AM MDT

  • 46231
    I won't even read the comments of some of the responders on this question because I KNOW they are going to be so off the point and off the wall that I will lose it.

    THIS WOMAN IS CRAZY.  She has lost all perspective.  If she ever had any.  I am reminded of the idiot just like this woman who acted as a expert witness in defense of Jodi Arias, saying she was abused, when this woman had NO experience to even support her ideas.

    This woman is out of control.  There is no reason why the police needed to be called.  The manager should have called the police and had her thrown off the premises and pressed charges.  

    Sexual assault is touching and inappropriately threatening a person.

    Sexual harassment is making lewd comments.

    Sexual abuse can incorporate almost anything to do with unconditional sexual behavior.  

    This woman was harassed for a minute in a public bar.  She needs to get a freaking life.  

      May 15, 2019 10:46 AM MDT

  • 7816
    I've actually learned some new info. The woman was becoming loud and causing a scene and she was kicked out by the manager. She phoned the police from the parking lot and is using this as additional fodder- that her "attacker" got to stay inside the club while the "victim" was kicked out. 

    I think what bothers me most about all this is that she does have a public persona. She's a somewhat well-known therapist who gives talks on empowerment and such. She's been on TV and radio. So, for her to be behaving like this when she has a following and people look up to her... I fear women are going to get the wrong idea- that this so-called "expert" was responding appropriately to the situation, and that behavior like hers will become the norm.
      May 15, 2019 11:09 AM MDT

  • 46231
    I knew this was going to happen when the ME TOO movement became so popular.  I am all for what the movement stands for, of course, but there always has to be a NUT JOB that has some clout and a microphone to ruin the message and make people who don't know about the serious REALITY of real sexual issues, just thumb their noses at the true victims because of people like this moron woman.

    She is just a petty tyrant who let a little power go to her head.  The fear you have (and I share) is that people are getting behind her who have their own agenda or just because they are mindless and this sounds like a good story.  

    On the one hand, we have the male predator. The male boss who harasses, the cop who threatens, the neighbor next-door.  They have been getting away with sexual abuse and now the Country's EYE is focused on this issue.   On the other hand we have the opposite.  The CRY WOLF! or RAPE! or anything accusatory for no good reason other than it shines attention on the SHOW OFF. Because that is all she is. A BIG SHOW OFF who has nothing to say and no life.  Just because a human being can study a subject and pass tests, does not make them any less susceptible to emotional retardation.  She may be mature in many ways, she can work, she can achieve, she can advance and she can fool people for awhile.  But, if you are emotionally retarded, you have issues that will come to the forefront eventually.  

    (I wonder if she deliberately wore something provocative to inflame someone to comment)  I mean why were her nipples so obvious?  LOL 

    This post was edited by WM BARR . =ABSOLUTE TRASH at May 16, 2019 9:35 AM MDT
      May 16, 2019 12:17 AM MDT

  • 33130

      So nice of you to pre-judge others' posts sight unseen.  Even more so when taking into account that the majority of responses closely mirror your response.
      May 15, 2019 8:04 PM MDT

  • 46231
    Let's not do this anymore.  It is making Just Asking upset.  I was kidding, you are kidding, and we both know it, but no one else does.  

    Let's end it.  She is getting upset that people are arguing.   TRUCE. FOREVER.  I'm done being a beotch.  
      May 16, 2019 12:03 AM MDT

  • 22868
    i think it is
      May 19, 2019 4:00 PM MDT