Not fighting Second Order of Sexual Harassment (SOSH) means not fighting sexual harassment

SAPPHO Scientific evidence Not fighting Second Order of Sexual Harassment (SOSH) means not fighting sexual harassment

There is evidence supporting the following statement: in order to overcome gender-based violence, there is a need to overcome Second Order of Sexual Harassment (SOSH). This is defined as that kind of harassment suffered by those who support direct victims, without being victims themselves. However, they might become victims when decide to stand with direct survivors and take their side. As it is already proven, survivors need support in order to break their silence and keep forward. Thus, to defend those supporting, become crucial in the struggle against sexual violence.

I was the first to complain against the most repeated offender at my university for sexual harassment. I suffered revictimization and retaliation for breaking the silence that had remained for decades. More than a dozen victims went through the entire process of this complaint. What helped me and other victims most was the support we received, from other professors and from brave colleagues. Two years after the hard process of the complaint, testifications, and victimization, we created the Solidarity Network of Victims of Gender Violence at the University so that no other victims would ever feel the same and suffer what we went through so that no one is left without support. All the people who supported me and other victims in our case suffered some kind of attacks and backlashes, known as SOSH. Not fighting it means not fighting sexual harassment.

Much progress has been made in addressing the reality of sexual harassment in different spaces and organizations. We know that we will not end sexual harassment until we do not end the second order of sexual harassment. We are at a key moment for positioning our institutions and organizations at the forefront of this fight. There is no way back, even if sometimes it is difficult to take the personal commitment, this is necessary in line with one of the slogans of this international struggle supports: “bystander begins by you”.



Vidu, A., Valls, R., Puigvert, L., Melgar, P., & Joanpere, M. (2017). Second order of sexual harassment-SOSH. Multidisciplinary Journal of Educational Research7(1), 1-26. (Scopus Q3 in 2019)

Madrid, A., Joanpere, M., de Botton, L., & Campdepadrós, R. (2020). Media Manipulation Against Social Justice Researchers: Second-Order Sexual Harassment. Qualitative Inquiry26(8-9), 983-988. (JCR Q1 in 2019; Scopus Q1 in 2019)

Flecha, R. (2021). Second-Order Sexual Harassment: Violence Against the Silence Breakers Who Support the Victims. Violence Against Women.

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Sara Carbonell

There is evidence of the SOSH that exists in universities and the permissive dynamics installed in them towards this violence that can even make the victims feel guilty for thinking that they are the ones who have caused this situation. These university contexts where this type of violence is permitted make the victims feel isolated by their peers which leaves them even more unprotected. I totally agree that it is urgent to defend those who support the ending of the sexual violence that still persists in universities.

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