Social Prevention

This model is based on an understanding that sexual harassment is a form of sexual violence. That understanding has been reiterated in a number of international and national documents, policy papers, jurisprudence, and academic literature. And this is not a pure theory in any way. The concept of sexual harassment as a form of violence grounds the approach that the social prevention of sexual harassment shall be based on the same principles as the social prevention of sexual violence altogether. Sexual violence is a form of oppression that is based on a certain network of social norms: objectifying women, promoting violence as a manifestation of masculinity, and supporting secrecy surrounding sexual desires.

Both municipal and state institutions (including but not limited to police) together with third-sector organizations shall lay sufficient effort to contradict the aforementioned social stereotypes. It is an axiom that the most effective measures against stereotypes are those that are being taken before a person addressed has internalized a certain negative attitude. Thus, it is never too early to talk about gender roles and sexual issues, be it younger schoolchildren or even kindergarten kids. It is however not worthless to share knowledge about sex to grownups also. Lectures for university students, quality training for certain professions, and even meetings at retirement houses may benefit the general social culture. It should be kept in mind that every person shall be considered not only as the one who may keep to certain stereotypes but also as the one who may spread negative or positive views to others. What is also important, is that gender stereotypes are so entrenched in our lives, that even the ones claiming freedom from stereotypes quite often sustain some of them and are worth contradicting in some more sophisticated ways. Thus, the target audience for the social prevention methods in the field might be restricted by lack of time of people, lack of money, or lack of time, but never by theorizing about who may possess or not possess, who may change or not change certain stereotypes.

While education aims to change the minds of people, changing their hearts is not of less importance. Thus, community sensitization efforts are of value. Messages that dignity is to be valued, that there are no such things as the weaker and the stronger sexes, that women shall be beautiful and men are to be strong, etc. might be communicated through traditional and social media, event campaigns, etc. The proper reaction to stop advertising campaigns that exploit stereotypes shall also be encouraged.

Apart from measures directed against sexual violence in general there might be specific measures to be used in respect of specifically sexual harassment.

First, if we want to stop sexual harassment in nightlife entertainment spots, we must stop it everywhere. Thus, zero tolerance in labour and other authority relations shall be entrenched and communicated both within and beyond company teams, academic communities, and professional societies.

Second, public approbation of nightlife entertainment spots that put the most effort into the assurance that they are free from sexual harassment, may both communicate a message to a wider audience that these efforts are valued, as well as encourage other nightlife entertainment spots to invest more into these activities. Municipalities could exploit opportunities to consider advertisement of the nightlife places that are best in this sense as a social advertisement covered by public funds, and thus provide an economic incentive for certain pubs and nightclubs to strive more in the field.

Finally, people are interested in flirting, books and webpages on flirting are among the most popular reads. Podiums for communication about flirting reach wider audiences and could be exploited to spread awareness on sexual harassment: how it hurts the dignity of victims, what responsibilities harassers face, and the ways to guarantee that an attempt to flirt does not turn into a manifestation of sexual harassment.