17 Easy Ways You Can Help Prevent Sexual Harassment

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For the record, sexual harassment and assault is an issue that people of all gender identities face — and in light of the #MeToo movement, we’ve put together a guide about how to prevent common forms of harassment.

Pro tip: These prevention tactics apply toward everyone!

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1. Don’t make comments about their body if they don’t specifically ask you to.

Do you feel the need to tell someone who you really don’t know how “good” he or she looks or give them unsolicited advice on their body? Just don’t!

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2. Don’t bug them to go out on a date with you, especially if they’ve already said “no” at least once.

Despite what rom-coms would have you believe, bugging the shit out of them is not even remotely cute.

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3. Don’t send unsolicited pictures of your genitals.

If they don’t ask for it, they don’t want to see it.

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4. Don’t touch someone’s body without asking (or if they’ve already said no).

A good rule of thumb is to remember that you do not get free access to anyone’s body, period.

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5. Don’t make excuses for your friends’ douchey behavior.

Whether you’re witnessing actual harassment and assault or you’ve just heard them make a degrading comment, the easiest thing to do might seem like saying nothing, but that just perpetuates the issue.

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6. Stop using your position of power to get someone to go out or hook up with you.

If you’re in a position of authority (such as being someone’s manager or teacher), do not abuse it as a means for meeting/hooking up with people.

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7. If you’ve sent them several texts, letters, emails, or smoke signals, and they’ve gone unanswered, stop.

You aren’t owed an explanation, especially if he or she has already asked you to stop.

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8. Don’t make sexist jokes.

You might think that they’re “only jokes,” but these jokes normalize the violence many people have to confront every day, in every space they inhabit.

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9. Don’t leer, catcall, or whistle, period.

Any behaviors that make them visibly uncomfortable means that you’re not being sexy. You’re just being unpleasant.

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10. If they’re drunk, do not assume this is “your chance.”

If they’re intoxicated, they cannot consent to anything. End of story.

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11. Don’t assume your partner will always want to have sex with you.

Sexual assault happens within relationships too. Just because you’re dating them doesn’t mean you have a right to their bodies 24/7.

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12. If you aren’t a personal friend, do not ask them about their sex lives.

Also, we don’t want to hear about YOUR sex life, either.

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13. Do not share their nudes.

Someone trusted you enough to share these photos, but they’re not yours, they don’t belong to you. By sending them to someone else, you’re violating their privacy. Plus, in more than 30 states, nonconsensual disclosure of sexually explicit images and videos can result in jail time or a fine.

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14. Stop judging people by their sexuality.

This goes for the number of sexual partners they’ve had, what they like to do, and how — that’s all none of your business.

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15. Don’t tell someone to smile, to put on makeup, or to get rid of their resting bitch face…

Instead, turn inward and question your beliefs real quick about whether people should always be visually appealing to you and why.

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16. Use your privilege to stand up for them.

If you see someone in danger or being harassed, step in and diffuse the situation. You aren’t being a “good guy.” You’re being a good human.

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17. If they tell you they were assaulted, don’t assume they’re exaggerating or that it was their fault.

Listen to them, believe them, and do everything you can to make them feel understood and safe with you.

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