Women face sexual harassment on a daily basis. For some, this happens in the most absurd places. When Joanna Chiu boarded a half-empty plane, she looked forward to lounging on a whole aisle by herself. However, it wasn’t long before she had a disturbing conversation. An older guy made sexual remarks towards a seemingly teenage girl. The older man went as far as to ask the girl for “dirty” pictures. That’s when she knew she had to intervene. You can check out the thread.
Thread about airplane creeps: I’m on a plane from a late-evening stopover from and was very tired and had a row to myself to sleep but couldn’t avoid noticing what was going on in the row behind me.
A man appearing in his late thirties was obviously delighted to be seated next to a teenager separated from the rest of her family. He started off by asking about her career plans and laughed when she said she wanted to be CEO and kept giving her ridiculous advice.
She was friendly and he seemed to take that as a welcome cue to get very familiar and started teasing her and kept saying that he wanted to take her out to eat, which she was ignoring. At this point I had to stay awake in case anything went further than that.
It did, and as soon as he asked for a “dirty” photo while leaning close to her I turned around and rage-whispered exactly what I thought of that and he didn’t say anything back and went off to use the washroom.
Another woman seated behind him was listening and monitoring too and while the man was gone she let the teen know that she had the right to change seats and that she was just behind her if she needed any help. I went to get a flight attendant and informed her of what was going on
They checked other witness accounts and the head of the flight service (a woman) asked the man to move. He resisted then started swearing at me and asked to talk to the boss and the head flight attendant said “I’m the boss, this is really serious and we could land the plane.”
He moved. The attendants checked in with the young woman and wrote up a report. They handled the situation well as far as I could tell, and it’s good to know other adult women passengers on the plane were paying attention and taking action while trying not to embarrass the teen.
But none of the male passengers seemed to show they noticed what was going on. Maybe fellow women are more likely to pick up on warning signs early on in the conversation because we used to be teenage girls too?
In the wake of #MeToomovement and the likes, it’s more crucial than ever to look out for each other. By intervening, you can stop sexual harassment from becoming something worse. Not only will you have helped an innocent woman but also, you’ll stop the harasser from doing more harm. Make sure you have a plan before helping a sexual harassment victim.
Assess The Situation
Before intervening, it’s important to assess the situation otherwise things could go south really fast. If it’s a group address the leader but don’t seem confrontational. Make sure you’ve called the police before or asked for help from the public.
Create A Distraction
This is a simple way of stepping in a sexual harassment situation without drawing too much attention. You can divert the conversation or ask questions that will let the harasser know that you’re aware of his intentions. Chances are, he’ll take the hint and leave. You can also pull them away from their harasser Ask questions like, “Can you show me where to find something?” In this case, Joanna confronted the man after the situation preventing things from getting really uncomfortable.
There’s power in numbers. Confronting a harasser alone might not bear fruits, but a crowd sure will. You can rally other bystanders to help the victim. Additionally, you can seek the help of someone in authority such as a teacher, security guard or older adult. If you go out with your friends, make sure you look out for each other. You’re less likely to face sexual harassment in a group.
Sexual harassment victims often feel humiliated and isolated. Therefore, showing your support for them and acknowledging the harassment makes them feel more understood. You can let them know that you saw what the harasser did and encourage them to take action. Furthermore, you can accompany them to make a report with the human resource manager.
If you’re at work or sharing a space with other people, make sure you follow security protocol. Don’t invite strangers into your space without verification. It’s easy to expose your fellow workmate to sexual harassment by overlooking security measures. Be sure that nobody follows you inside the building. You shouldn’t leave the doors unlocked whether or not there’s someone in the room. How To Deal With Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Tip: Don’t confront the harasser directly as it may escalate to a situation that puts all of you in danger. Instead, use the tips above to help a victim of sexual harassment.
I’m a content writer, bibliophile and travel enthusiast. I have worked in the digital space for over 5 years which has exposed me to a variety of lifestyle topics and peeked my interests in beauty, fashion, travel and wellness.