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Do Men Who Sexually Harass Women Actually Think That They Are Going To Be Respected?

18/10/2017 11:53 BST | Updated 18/10/2017 11:53 BST

Sleazy, aggressive stares. Inappropriate sexual comments. Attempts at unwanted touching and purposively standing too close on public transport. Obvious and blatant sexual jokes that are intended to degrade and humiliate and general commentary of women as if they're sexual objects. Attempts to coerce sexual favours and touching without permission. Mocking, intimidating laughter at protests telling all of the above to stop.

Sexual harassment.

I'm sure all women, and many men, know exactly what I'm talking about.

Sexual harassment brings an extreme level of discomfort. The unabashed and lecherous nature in which it most takes place, makes you feel as if you're not human and the very apparent lack of concern for how such behaviour makes you feel, makes you angry.

Throughout the many parts of the world I have travelled, whether it be Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East or the many islands of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, I have found that sexual harassment is a serious problem everywhere.

And everywhere I find the men who behave this way disgusting. Truly revolting.

In fact, in my many years of talking about this issue with men and women from all over the world, I am yet to meet anyone who respects men who behave in this way.

Yet despite this, the amount of men throughout the world who sexually harass women seems to be endless.

These men project their sleaze and aggression on women with a very apparent sense of arrogance and entitlement. The blatant and obvious nature in which they harass women indicates that they think that what they are doing is acceptable. The laughter that so often follows complaints and protests of their behaviour indicates a confidence to disrespect and degrade.

So if there are so many men who feel entitled to project their sleaze and lewd behaviour on women in such blatant and public ways, then I can only assume that these men are completely unaware of how their behaviour is being perceived by others?

I can only assume that they do not realise that others are looking at them and their revolting behaviour as just that, revolting?

Because surely if they did realize, then surely they would not behave in such a way, would they?

Surely if they knew that others were looking at them and their behaviour with disgust then they would feel embarrassed, wouldn't they?

My assumption is that if these men really knew how revolting they looked while they were harassing women, then they would probably not behave in such a way.

They wouldn't behave in such a way because they would be ashamed.

I think that part of the problem with sexual harassment and the reason why there are so many men who harass women, is that they do not realize that others are looking at them with disgust and disrespect.

I think that these men actually think that they look good, I think that they actually think that they are going to be respected.

I think that part of the reason that these men believe that their behaviour is acceptable is because of the silence of those around them. Not nearly enough women and men, are speaking up against sexual harassment and publicly condemning the men who behave this way. What this results in is men actually believing that this kind of behaviour is acceptable.

So if we are going to stop sexual harassment then we need to stop being silent and start making it very clear to these men that their behaviour won't be accepted.

We need to speak up and teach men that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable. Because if we don't speak up, then we become complicit. If we don't say that such behaviour is unacceptable, then we teach these men that their behaviour is acceptable.

And it's not acceptable.

Men need to learn that others will look at them with disgust and disrespect if they sexually harass women. They need to learn that they will be punished and that there will be consequences for their actions.

We can all be powerful in making that happen, just by speaking up. Just by voicing our condemnation and making it known that we won't accept this type of behaviour in our homes, our communities or in our countries. If we do this we can be extraordinarily powerful in changing the behaviour of others and bringing sexual harassment to an end.