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Progress in Combating Sexual Harassment

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“Sexual harassment is a direct attack on another human being. The intention of sexual harassment is aggression and no excuses should not be made to understand it in any other way….it should be just understood that sexual harassment is a crime, like any other criminal act” (Morocco Word News, 2017).

Sexual harassment is a peace-ruiner, a guilt inflicter and a self-conscious motivator. Sexual harassment doesn’t only encompass physical complaints, but a plethora of verbal and technological examples. While the rise of technology and social media has provided a new practice of communication, it has also increased verbal and photographic abuses and sexual harassment.

Taunts, inappropriate staring and verbal assaults all contribute to demeaning examples of sexual harassment. Cyber sexual harassment has become more prevalent due to abusers ability to “ghost” the web and remain anonymous—posting comments that cannot be directly or readily linked to actual individuals, therefore, diminishing linkage to real world consequences.

“Your email was blocked, we’ve contacted an HR representative” (Brandon, 2017). This, a possible phrase to be used and sent by artificial intelligence (AI) in future emails, could help change the mindset of sexual harassment. By having an internet service able to highlight vocabulary and exchanges deemed sexual assault, writers of said emails will be held publicly responsible. This tactic will hopefully diminish uses from partaking in abusive activities. Says Michelle Lee Flores, a labor and employment attorney: “AI can use the data-analysis technology (such as data monitoring) to determine if sexually suggestive communications are being sent…If the computer and handheld devices are company issued, employees should have no expectation of privacy as to anything in the emails or texts” (Brandon, 2017). Though these potential problems have been considered, companies are still positively approaching AI services as a way to promote a better work environment.

Sexual harassment is especially frightening because it has become socially acceptable in many ways. Zoe Kazan, a hollywood actress currently involved in The Big Sick, claims, “there’s so much sexual harassment on set. And there’s no HR department, right? We don’t have a redress. We have our union, but no one ever resorts to that, because you don’t want to get a reputation for being difficult.” Kazan has been told to “be flirty with a director or a producer. It’s the sense that your sexuality is somehow baked into this situation…They’ll say, ‘Wear something body-conscious’ and then you’re aware that they’re checking out your body…You leave the situation feeling not good about what just happened, but you don’t really have the language for why” (Walker, 2017). Sadly, many victims of sexual harassment accept their situations, assuming that nothing can be done to prevent it.

While sexual harassment persists, innovative technology paired with liberal new ideas to combat harassment issues are encouragingly pointing to a brighter future with fewer cases of harassment.

For more information on sexual harassment, read the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

References:

Brandon, J. (2017, July 10). How artificial intelligence could battle sexual harassment in the workplace. Retrieved July 16, 2017, from http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/07/10/how-artificial-intelligence-could-battle-sexual-harassment-in-workplace.html

Facts About Sexual Harassment. (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2017, from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-sex.cfm

News, M. W. (2017, July 09). Sexual Harassment: From Australia to Morocco, It’s a Problem. Retrieved July 15, 2017, from https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2017/07/222531/sexual-harassment-australia-morocco-problem/

Walker, A. E. (2017, July 13). ‘Big Sick’ Star Zoe Kazan Opens Up About Sexual Harassment on Film Sets. Retrieved July 16, 2017, from https://www.glamour.com/story/big-sick-star-zoe-kazan-opens-up-about-sexual-harassment-on-film-sets

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