Groping is a Growing Problem
What is Groping?
We’re writing this piece because when you Google the word “groping” dozens of photos and websites show mostly men touching mostly women inappropriately.
It’s basically sexual assault for public consumption and sexual pleasure.
This article is meant to provide a definition of groping, help individuals understand what they can do if they’ve experienced an act of groping, and how we can begin to hold perpetrators accountable for this form of sexual violence.
What does groping mean?
Groping is the unwanted touching of someone’s body for pleasure.
Let’s be clear: groping is never consensual.
Some may refer to it as fondling and, oftentimes, it can be considered molestation.
Groping is never consensual.
Is groping sexual assault?
Yes, groping is considered a form of sexual assault.
If it occurs in the workplace, it is also considered sexual harassment.
Is groping illegal?
While it depends on the state and jurisdiction of where the offense occurred, groping is often considered illegal and is usually a misdemeanor offense.
What to do if you’ve experienced groping
First, we understand how devastating and damaging experience an act of groping can be.
Your physical body was invaded for someone else’s sexual pleasure.
What to do after an act of groping is completely up to you. We recognize that every experience is different and every survivor’s needs and desires are different.
Here are a few options that are available to you.
What to do if you experience groping in the workplace:
Whether it was in the office or at a work event, even one instance of groping should get someone fired and removed from the workplace.
However, we also want to not sugarcoat the reality of reporting any form of sexual harassment, including groping.
If you have experienced an act of groping with a colleague or coworker, you can:
- See if there is any evidence, including video of the incident
- See if there are any witnesses to the event who would be willing to support you
- See if they are willing to admit to what they did over text or email
- Gather any and all additional evidence, including potential previous incidents that have occurred with this individual
- Report to your direct boss and make them take an official note down to put in the other employee’s file while this is being investigated
- Report to the leader of the organization
There will likely be an investigation into the incident. You can also look at filing an EEOC complaint, especially if the investigation goes nowhere. Again, we recognize that these may not be viable options for you and we suggest calling a hotline to get more help tailored to your unique situation.
What to do if you experience groping in public:
It’s sad to say that groping in public is a common occurrence — especially in busy, confined spaces like the subway train or a music concert.
Incidents of public groping can vary dramatically in the victim’s ability to respond, especially a response in-the-moment. It can be unsafe to call attention to the experience.
If you have experienced an act of groping in public you can:
- Get away from the individual as soon as possible and with as much distance as possible
- Cal 911 if you feel this is a dangerous situation or emergency
- Tell the person(s) you’re there with about the experience as soon as possible
- Get help from a venue’s security
What to do if you experience groping by someone you know:
Touching another person’s body for sexual gratification without their consent is sexual assault. When someone experiences groping by someone they know, this can be an even more damaging and traumatizing experience.
Sometimes it is a “joke” gone too far and other times it is someone “testing the waters” to see what they can get away with and how they can push your boundaries. An act of groping can lead to additional forms of abuse by this individual.
If you’ve experienced groping by someone you know and trust, you can:
- Immediately leave the situation if that is a safe option
- Tell someone else you trust
- Call 911 if you feel you are in immediate danger
- Never interact with that individual again
- Seek help and healing from your support system
Again, every situation is unique and these might not be options for you. What we recommend is to do what’s best for you both in the short term and the long term. If you need advice, you can call a hotline like Victim Connect.
You are not alone and there are people who believe and support you.
What to do if you see someone else being groped:
Bystander intervention is one of the most helpful things you can do if you see someone else experiencing an act of groping.
However, before engaging with the groper, you should ensure that both you and the victim are safe. There are many great bystander training programs to help you learn how to best intervene in situations like this.
If you see someone else being groped you can:
- Get in between the victim and the groper
- Ask the individual if they are okay and what they’d like to do
- Be a witness if the victim chooses to engage law enforcement, venue security, or their workplace
- If the victim is in immediate danger, you can call 911
TRIGGER WARNING: The rest of this piece contains explicit content as it relates to groping.
The reality of “groping” on the internet
What also really p!ssed us off about researching the term “groping” was that there are dozens of phrases associated with groping that are basically just “groping porn”.
AKA - sexual assault for public consumption.
In our opinion, this is sexual violence being perpetuated by Google and other big tech companies.
Some of these phrases include:
- public groping
- groping tits
- groping in train or subway groping
- groping on bus
- groping mom
- groping concert
- sleep groping
- ass groping
Like WTF, Google?
Not only do we have to deal with this, groping in the metaverse is now an issue.
Groping, like any form of abuse, is about power and control. Gropers, and those who enable this kind of behavior, are perpetrators of sexual violence and deserve to be held accountable for their actions — whether those actions are online or in-person.