Despite ongoing awareness, sexual harassment is still prevalent in some workplaces. We are more cognizant for political correctness than we are of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment takes many forms, and when it is happening to you, many times you are unsure as to whether or not your perception is correct. Furthermore, many people simply are put in an awkward situation and don’t necessarily know how to get out of it.
For the Christian, feelings of being sexually harassed go beyond “inappropriate touching”. There are many environments where lewd comments or “innocent sexual flirtations” are going on. This can make a believer very uncomfortable, and is certainly something that we should not engage in.
Lewdness and flirtations are not honoring to God, nor our spouses who should be respected- even if they are not present. Furthermore, suggestive speech can easily turn serious if left unchecked. It also leaves the other person wondering whether you were truly joking or not- maybe there was a hint of truth.
In addition to lewd comments, ogling and lust go on in a corporate environment as well. The sadness behind it is often it is blamed on the woman being suggestive. The truth is, if you really wanted to, you could avert your eyes.
So what does a Christian do in such a provocative environment? How do you address such inappropriate, offensive comments without being rude or coming across as prudish? Can you skirt the water cooler banter and the lustful stares? It comes down to communicating effectively, yet gently, but it can be done.
Our next issue discusses the effects of sexual harassment on Christians and how to overcome behavior that is inappropriate properly without the gossip that would accompany it.
Lisa Carter discusses how to overcome this issue with grace and tact in our November issue.
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