Harassment - Ambiguity


Both because the term is used in common English, and because where the term is defined by law, the law varies by jurisdiction, it is difficult to provide any exact definition that is accepted everywhere.

The ambiguity begins with the fact that some kinds of harassment are, or seem to be, unconscious, small, ephemeral and non-actionable. See microinequity.

In some cultures, for instance, simply stating a political opinion can be seen as unwarranted and a deliberate attempt to intimidate—in a totalitarian society any such statement could be interpreted as an attempt to involve or implicate someone in rebel activity, with the implication that refusal could endanger the person's life. More usually, some label such as "anti-social" or related to treason is used to label such behaviour—it being treated as an offense against the state, not the person. This resembles the use of psychiatry to imprison dissidents, which is common in many countries.

Another example is that under some versions of Islamic Law merely insulting Islam is considered to be a harassment of all believers, and in Japan insulting any faith is usually considered taboo and has legal sanctions. Because of these variations, there is no way even within one society to provide a truly neutral definition of harassment.

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Famous quotes containing the word ambiguity:

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