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.

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MIT at the time also recognized the injuries caused by racial harassment and the harassment of women of color, which may be both racial and sexual.

The President of MIT also stated that harassment (and favoritism) are antithetical to the mission of a university as well as intolerable for individuals.

This can be related to difficulty classifying the situation or could be related to stress and humiliation experienced by the recipient.

Moreover, behavior and motives vary between individual cases.

One of the difficulties in understanding sexual harassment, is that it involves a range of behaviors.

In most cases (although not in all cases) it is difficult for the victim to describe what they experienced.

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.

We were referring to it as 'sexual intimidation,' 'sexual coercion,' 'sexual exploitation on the job.' None of those names seemed quite right.