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In most modern legal contexts, sexual harassment is illegal.

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Victims who do not submit to harassment may also experience various forms of retaliation, including isolation and bullying.

As an overall social and economic effect every year, sexual harassment deprives women from active social and economic participation and costs hundreds of millions of dollars in lost educational and professional opportunities for mostly girls and women.

However, there often are a number of effective ways for offended and injured people to overcome the resulting psychological effects, remain in or return to society, regain healthy feelings within personal relationships when they were affected by the outside relationship trauma, regain social approval, and recover the ability to concentrate and be productive in educational, work, etc. This may include stress management and therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, friends and family support, etc. Yount found three dominant strategies developed by a sample of women coal miners to manage sexual harassment on the job: the "lady", the "flirt", and the "tomboy".

Immediate psychological and legal counseling are recommended since self-treatment may not release stress or remove trauma, and simply reporting to authorities may not have the desired effect, may be ignored, or may further injure the victim at its response. The "ladies" were typically the older women workers who tended to disengage from the men, kept their distance, avoided using profanity, avoided engaging in any behavior that might be interpreted as suggestive.

Somebody came up with 'harassment.' 'Sexual harassment! That's what it was." These activists, Lin Farley, Susan Meyer, and Karen Sauvigne went on to form Working Women's Institute which, along with the Alliance Against Sexual Coercion, founded in 1976 by Freada Klein, Lynn Wehrli, and Elizabeth Cohn-Stuntz, were among the pioneer organizations to bring sexual harassment to public attention in the late 1970s.

Still the term was largely unknown until the early 1990s when Anita Hill witnessed and testified against Supreme Court of the United States nominee Clarence Thomas.

Many sororities and fraternities in the United States take preventative measures against hazing and hazing activities during the participants' pledging processes (which may often include sexual harassment).

Many Greek organizations and universities nationwide have anti-hazing policies that explicitly recognize various acts and examples of hazing, and offer preventative measures for such situations. In research carried out by the EU Agency for Fundamental Human Rights research, 17,335 female victims of sexual assault were asked to name the feelings that resulted from the most serious incident of sexual assault that they had encountered since the age of 15.

'Anger, annoyance and embarrassment were the most common emotional responses, with 45% of women feeling anger, 41% annoyance and 36% embarrassment.

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