Indicators of sexual harassment at workplace

By Sarah Nansikombi.

Sexual harassment at the workplace can be manifested in a number of acts or forms. These include leering, wolf or seductive whistles , inappropriate and unsolicited , gifts, lingerie, indecent exposure and persuading a worker to wear revealing clothes.

Tales of  sexual exploitation, sexual assault, soliciting sexual services for favours at work,  pressure for  unwanted date, meeting, outing , inappropriate invitations, following or trailing even after one declining  advances.

Other manifestations include unwelcome touching, hugs, massages or pats, displaying pornographic materials, sabotaging women’s men’s work through sexual advances. There is also sexually explicit gestures discussion of one’s partner’s sexual inadequacies, and also public humiliation obscene phone calls, messages and conversations plus sexual innuendos.

The other indicator of sexual harassment includes use of vulgar language by word of mouth, or messages through different platforms or communication including inappropriate comments about women or men’s bodies.

Characteristics of perpetrators of sexual harassment at workplaces

Perpetrators of sexual harassment tend to groom one for their sexual interests of desires by starting to touch one privately or in the presence of one’s workmates.

This is intended  to normalize their acts before the rest of the employees so that by the time one is reporting the unwanted behavior and sometimes one’s workmates may give excuses  for the harasser’s behavior.

Blame Game

Perpetuators of sexual harassment tend to rationalize their own behavior by diverting blame towards the victim.  For example they make statements such as :” If that lady didn’t want  to be touched, would she have  put on a skimpy dress?.. As part of the rationalization process, they end up committing the crime.

People perpetrating sexual harassment use the privileges and status at the workplace to commit the offence without recourse to reprimand.

Many habitual perpetrators rarely show any remorse for their actions or empathy towards others, and they lack their respects and respect for others.


Most perpetrators prioritize their emotion, feelings not putting into consideration how they affect others and indeed they believe in “self – satisfaction”.

Sexually impulsive

Having a tendency to engage in sexual activity without thinking about the negative implications. Inability to control one’s behavior, by acting on every impulse, is a dominating characteristic of a perpetrator. Most perpetrators come from dysfunctional families characterized by poor upbringing.

Easily distracted

Perpetrators at times lose focus of their legitimate goals. They are not focused on – target and often fall back into their old patterns, and even after the person has been  released from prison and has been rehabilitated,  he still can commit the same crime.

Power Centric

Interestingly, habitual perpetrators of sexual look at people and situations as a power struggle. Essentiall , each encounter becomes a battle between strong and weak. Once the perpetrator has decided they hold the strength, they will exploit the weaker opponent.


The quality of being impossible to be defeated or prevented from doing  something. So they have a strong belief and conduct that cannot be changed.

About the Author

Ms Sarah Nansikombi is a Journalist, Social Critic and Women’s Rights Activist

Tel/Mobile: +256 – 751931858,


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