Due to the unequal distribution of media attention, many people equate sexual harassment with physical assault. Though many cases of sexual harassment do include assault, this is not always true.
Many instances do not include any physical contact at all. However, non-physical sexual harassment is still a form of harassment and should get the same serious treatment.
Threats or coercion as harassment
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration discusses sexual harassment on the job. In many cases, sexual harassment never actually comes to the point where physical contact happens. That does not make it any less traumatic for the victim who suffers through it, though.
In many cases, sexual harassment involves the lewd and inappropriate comments that the harasser makes toward the victim. They may make sexually suggestive remarks, or they may even try to bribe the victim for sexual favors in exchange for money, a better position, or other benefits. They could try to threaten a victim in the same way, demanding sexual favors in exchange for avoiding a demotion or other negative consequences.
Malicious rumors and toxic work environments
Sexual harassment can also include the intentional spread of malicious rumors that base around someone’s sexual life or orientation. In some situations, these rumors can grow out of hand to the point that they actually create a toxic work environment.
If it gets to that point, then a victim has every right to pursue damages for the harm they faced because of sexual harassment. Even if it was not physical, it still left damage and the victim deserves compensation for the pain they went through.