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Dana Brownstein

What is Harassment?

A vexatious behavior or pattern of behaviors directed against an individual or group, with the intent or effect of causing them harm and/or distress.   Harassment is related to bullying and intimidation.  These behaviors can be physical, such as physical or sexual violence or stalking.  They may be verbal, such as insults, slurs, threats, or pestering (such as constantly asking someone on dates who is clearly disinterested, internet stalking).  It may be visual, such as hanging up objectionable photographs, or offensive jokes. Harassment can be based on race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information (including family medical history).

Harassment can impact many aspects of your daily life and have negative impacts on your mental wellbeing. Although a therapist or coach can't directly intervene or prevent harassment from happening, they can help you process feelings of shame, embarrassment, pain, or sadness caused by these occurrences.

If you or someone you know is being harassed and believe to be in danger, please contact 911 or your local emergency services. Harassment can escalate quickly and put you in harms way. If you're looking for additional resources, we recommend looking at The American Sociological Association's list of resources.

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About the Author

Dana Brownstein is psychodynamic therapist who also practices EMDR, a form of therapy designed to treat trauma. You can contact her through her MyWellbeing profile or contact her directly through her website.