We all have a habitual line crosser in our lives. Most of the time it is easy to brush off. However, there are times that these lines people cross can become too much or are a sign of more problems to come. This is an issue that applies to everyone.
Crossing What Lines?
There are lines we have that define us. Some of them align with our moral compasses. Unfortunately, some of us have become so desensitized to what actual harassment is that we forget we are letting ourselves continue the cycle of abuse. Harassment is a form of abuse. For example, people with low self-esteem may find it even harder to realize that these situations truly are abuse. Someone you know or an ex or an old friend can cross these lines. People close to us can abuse us, too. It is never ok to let that cycle continue. There has to come to a point that taking those hurtful words and actions cannot be acceptable anymore.
What is Harassment?
Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behavior that demeans or embarrasses a person. It is intended to humiliate, harm a person’s mental health, harm a person’s quality of life. It can be unwanted phone calls, text messages or emails, bullying online, or verbal abuse and threats, and more. There are times where we may not even realize the situation is truly harassment. There is a time that we need to stop and look at what toll is being taken on your own mental health. People that harass others are committing a crime. We need to take this seriously. Harassment can be a sign of worsening behavior. It can lead to stalking, physical harm, or violence. It can lead a victim down a dark path of questioning one’s self-worth or self-esteem.
What You Can Do
Harassment is a crime. If you tell your harasser that their behavior is unacceptable and it continues there are things you can do. Contact your local police department immediately and explain your situation. Also, find your support system. Talk about what is going on to another person or other people. Being harassed is a lot of weight to carry alone and no one should have to. Assault, abuse, threats, stalking are all punishable crimes. There are steps you can take in the midst of the harassment that can help when you take action to end it.
- Keep threatening text messages or emails.
- Record any threats or abuse whenever possible.
- Keep track of when and how often it is happening, even just by writing it down.
Because this is a crime you may need to bring some form of evidence. That is why those key actions mentioned above are so important. It may seem or feel like a good idea to just delete everything so you do not have to look at it anymore, but that only gives the harassment the chance to continue. Your local authorities can issue what some states call a PFA, or protection from abuse. In other states, it may be called a restraining order. These are civil procedures that are available to anyone who is a victim of any form of harassment. They place restrictions specific to your situation. For example, if your ex will not stop calling or texting you, you can get a no-contact clause in your restraining order. If any violations are made the harasser can be arrested. The authorities are there to help. Harassment is abuse whether it is mental, emotional, or physical. It is harm being done to you. No one deserves that. You have avenues that can help stop the cycle of abuse.
There is never any situation that any type of abuse is ok. It may take time to build the courage to take action. The moment you feel that courage is the moment you take back control. It is the moment that you realize you are worthy. Harassers and abusers feed off of insecurities. They know what to say to bring you down. You need to combat those feelings with your own strength. That strength has been there the whole time. It is time to take back control and begin to heal. If you or someone you know is in a situation like this- talk about it. Reach out for help. You are worth it.