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Future Health

Sexual Misconduct

July 5, 2022 

“81% of women and 43% of men said they had experienced sexual misconduct and/or assault over their lifetime.” - A National Study on Sexual Misconduct and Assault, 2018. 

Sexual Misconduct: any unwanted behavior of sexual nature. This could be physical or verbal. It could also be an action that has no contact (texts, pictures and more), and creates an intimidating, hostile and offensive environment. 

There are several types of misconduct. Each state varies in their definitions. Some examples would be the following:

  • Sexual Violence - sexual act committed against someone without that person’s consent 
  • Sexual Assault - any type of forced sexual contact or behavior that happens without consent
  • Sexual Abuse - unwanted sexual act, with perpetrators using force, threats, and taking advantage of victims not able to give consent
  • Rape - a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent

Sexual misconduct can happen at the workplace, at school, at home, and so many other places. Most perpetrators use one of the common types; quid pro quo (you give something to get something) and a hostile environment which causes unsolicited behavior. 

About ten percent of victims file a claim. For those who do not, they either choose to ignore, endure, or avoid the harasser. They do this due to the feelings of shame, denial, fear of retaliation, low self-esteem, helplessness and/or history of abuse. 

There could also be major impacts on an individual when it comes to sexual misconduct. They can be impacted either emotionally, mentally, or physically. Emotionally, it can show as anger, fear or even shame. Mentally, they can experience anxiety, PTSD, or depression. Lastly, physically, their stress levels would increase, get headaches, and become fatigue. 

Now, there are laws that require training to handle and prevent sexual misconduct. When it comes to these laws there are the three Ds to remind yourself (direct, delegate and distract).

  • Direct - If it is safe to, directly approach
  • Delegate - If you do not know the person, delegate another person to approach the situation
  • Distract - Divert the attention 

There are other ways to prevent sexual misconduct. They are the following;

  • Educate and train
  • Be clear on consequences
  • Train bystanders to be active bystanders
  • Create a zero-tolerance policy

If you or a loved one are suffering from sexual misconduct, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). To learn more about sexual misconduct please check out