How To Say "No" So He Knows You Mean It
Dealing with Sexual Harassment

Rita Preller, LCSW-C


What is sexual harassment? It can range from a suggestive statement to aggressive sexual assault. In many cases, males are the aggressors, but women and girls can be sexually aggressive.

If you let people make sexually harassing comments to you, it may give the message that it is OK for people to treat you this way. These type of comments are mean and disrespectful. Would you want someone to say that sort of thing to your little sister?

Teens and younger kids hear these comments regularly. As a teen, it is important to be liked, to be part of the crowd. The pressure to fit in is stressful. You may think, ”If I ignore it or laugh, maybe they will back off.” However, that may not occur. You don’t want to be identified as someone who doesn’t mind sexual harassment.

Stand up for yourself. Make it clear that you expect others to respect your personal space. Make it clear that harassing comments to you or toward others are not funny or flattering.

Harassing Statements

Are you wearing a bra?

Nice butt!

<Suggestive noises>

If you don’t do it with me, I’ll tell everyone that you did.


Internal boundaries are feelings and thoughts about the way you feel and think. Ask yourself, “Does this feel right or wrong?” Determine whether you like what the other person is saying (or doing) to you or if you just like the attention.

External boundaries define the relationship between your body and the bodies of others. You have the right to decide whether it is OK for someone to touch you. Explore your personal boundaries of safety. Ask yourself how close you feel comfortable standing to a friend—a sibling—a stranger.

Be aware of your environment: Is this a risky situation? Are there friends nearby who can help me if something happens?

Don’t get intoxicated. If you are “out of it” you may not realize that someone is about to take advantage of you. Some people don’t take your ”no” as seriously if you are drunk.

If a boyfriend pressures you for sex, look him in the eye and say, ”no” firmly. If words don’t work, push him away—as hard as necessary.

If you are alone with a boy who is pressuring you, say you have to go to the bathroom or that you are having your period.

Give yourself time to think clearly—do you truly want to have sex with this boy at this moment.

You may need to call a parent or a friend to bring you home. Have an advance agreement with someone who can take you home without questions.

If you feel harassed or violated, tell someone! At any point in a sexual encounter, you have the right to stop. You should not allow others to victimize you.



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Postal address: We have two locations in Baltimore County
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Email: [email protected]
Please use telephone for appointments or medical questions.

Carol Watkins, M.D.
Glenn Brynes, Ph.D., M.D.
Rita Preller, LCSW-C

Copyright © 2004  Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Last modified: December 14, 2004