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August 7, 2018

Sexual Harassment at the Gym

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Today Jess joined Carolyn Mackenzie and Vicky Sparks on Global TV’s The Morning Show to talk about a survey conducted by ExerciseBike.net. They polled 1000 gym-goers who shared their experiences with harassment. Some of their findings included:

  • After being harassed, 3 in 4 women said they changed what they wore to workout.
  • Almost 50% say they’ve stopped doing certain exercises, and more than 1 in 3 either changed gyms or stopped going entirely.
  • 44% of women did nothing in response to the harassment.
  • Nearly 80% of women would consider an all-female gym to prevent sexual harassment.

The gym is a breeding ground for harassment, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Some guidelines that might make women feel more safe and welcome while working on their fitness:

1. Pay attention to non-verbal cues. For example, if someone is wearing headphones, don’t interrupt them or ask them to remove them. Friendly conversation is grand, but some people don’t want to chat while working out.

2. If you want to approach someone, make eye contact and start with a simple “hello”. If they smile, make eye contact and engage, it’s possible that they want to continue the conversation. If they turn away, look away or move on to another machine, leave them be.

3. Don’t use “friendliness” as a guise for sexual advances. Being friendly is awesome! Be friendly. But if you’re only “friendly” toward those you want to have sex with (i.e. you’re not friendly to people of all genders, body types, etc.), then you’re not being friendly. You’re making a sexual advance or motivated by sexual desire. Be honest.

4. If you want to talk to someone, ask them if they’re open to company or conversation. Be straightforward. They have the right to accept or decline.

5. Don’t leer. It’s disrespectful and intimidating. You can notice beauty without objectifying or making someone uncomfortable.

6. If you want to offer a compliment, consider the outcome. The measure of a compliment is how it makes the receiver feel — not your intent or how it makes you feel.

Watch the full video below and stay tuned for an upcoming segment focusing on effective ways to approach a love interest with confidence and respect.