Dear Erica Küng

Well, Everything depends on how it happens and how it affects you.

There are lots of occasions when a girl might feel that she was being treated inappropriately and she is uncomfortable and unhappy about it. If she feels like that then there is a problem and she should do something about it.

There are other times when exactly the same thing with a different combination of people and circumstances isn't a problem for anybody. No one is upset and it's not sexual harassment.

The main thing that makes it harassment is that it's something that you don't want to have happen.

The first thing you need to do if anything like that ever happens to you is that straight away you should make it clear that you are not happy about it. Saying NO should be enough. Often the boy didn't really mean to do what he did. It might have been a very unthinking act on his behalf but once he knows that it's not well-received he will probably not do it again.

If he were then to continue to do it then that probably would be harassment, possibly sexual harassment, or possibly just general harassment. It depends partly on how you perceive it.

This is what to do about it.

First of all you should make it quite clear that you do not like it. You're the one who has to work out in the first place if it's a problem for you. If it's a problem for you then you should speak up about it straight away to the person concerned.

If that doesn't work and you still feel that the problem is continuing then the best thing is to speak to someone else and see if you can get some help to sort that situation out. The person you speak to might be a teacher or a parent or a doctor. Or, if you are in the work place, it might be your could be anybody.


You're the one who's unhappy. You're the one who's got a problem. It's up to YOU to keep pursuing one avenue after another until you get some satisfaction.

Yours sincerely 

Virginia R. Claire

read the question in the original letter