Most people associate sexual harassment with blatant unwanted contact. The reality is that, while some instances of sexual harassment are unmistakable that way, many are far more subtle and may leave you wondering if you misinterpreted the moment.
That subtlety does not negate the fact that those actions may qualify as sexual harassment depending on the circumstances.
Not respecting personal space
In many sexual harassment cases, the incidents begin with the other party encroaching on your personal space. You might feel as though they are just standing too close, and when you take a step backward, they move closer.
Repeatedly staring at you
Do you notice the other party persistently staring at you frequently enough that it makes you uncomfortable? You might feel as though you cannot do anything about it because staring involves no direct contact. However, the manner in which it happens could be sexual harassment.
Comments about your appearance
Any comments about your appearance might be sexual harassment, especially if those comments make you uncomfortable. Innocent compliments are natural, but when comments refer to your attributes or feel as though they cross a professional boundary, that could qualify as harassment.
Inappropriate conversations in your proximity
Many people do not realize that sexual harassment does not have to be direct. If there is an inappropriate conversation in your immediate vicinity that makes you uncomfortable, especially if you have no way to get away from it, that could qualify for sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment may not always be blatant, but these subtle indications should warrant concern.