Etymology: from French harer, meaning “to set a dog on”; from German hare, meaning “a cry urging a dog to attack”
A person who conducts or initiates sexual harassment, is defined by us as a Harasser, or a person who harasses.
The Oxford Dictionary defines a “harasser” or “to harass” as:
To bother or intimidate another person
A persistent tormentor or attacker
Make repeated small-scale attacks
We define a harasser as someone who intimidates or bothers another employee, or multiple employees. This can be via direct harassment, or involve indirect harassment, in which the intimidation is targeted against a demographic group (e.g. sexist comments against women).
Incidents of workplace sexual harassment have shown to have a tendency to be repeated attacks, and the person conducting this harassment, usually carries it out in a persistent manner. That can be either consistent harassment against the same person, or with multiple employees.
A harasser does not have a “typical” demographic or standard characteristics. They can be of any gender, race, sexual orientation or ethnicity. They also do not have to have a certain rank or order in the institution. That is to say, they do not have to be someone’s supervisor in order for them to be the harasser. They can have any relationship with the person or group they are harassing.
Sometimes, we will also refer to the harasser as the “perpetrator”.
To see what types of harassment a harasser can perpetrate, see our definition of “sexual harassment”.