Glossary



© like everything else on this website, definitions are copyright 2011- Linda Freedman, PhD


Anonymity—the omniscience associated with Internet relationships; the opportunity to mask one’s identity or impersonate.  Anonymity emboldens predators who seek personal gain or sexual relationships via electronic communication. 


Bullying—a type of relationship abuse characterized by exclusion, physical attacks, and/or  name-calling.  On-line, it is called Cyber Bullying.  Adults are victims of Cyber Stalking


Coercionby virtue of authority, one person is able to convince, persuade, or blackmail another into behaving in ways that hurt or shame, an abuse of power.  Coercion is associated with holding rewards in abeyance for lack of compliance to morally disagreeable acts, firing, hiring, withholding wages or advancement, and negative evaluations, grades, or job reviews. 


Discrimination— an unjustified negative or harmful action towards a member of a group, simply because of his or her membership in that group.


Empathy— having the ability to feel the feelings of others, or at least recognizing the feelings of others intellectually.


Gaming, media, and social network addictions— addiction is implied when productivity or learning is impaired, and when other relationships outside the social network or game suffer.  Research that grades and work performance is impaired by the compulsion to play or to network indicates developmental delay associated with withdrawal from the “real world” and responsibility.

Hostile environment—a work, school, or play atmosphere characterized by threats and disrespect, fear of retaliation for refusing to participate in sexual demands.  A hostile environment can be defined by upsetting sexual or racial/ethnic communication.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 entitles workers and student to emotional safety at school and work, a respectful environment. (read more)  MAG,add the rest of the definitions any way you want, obviously.  I threw in Read More because that’s what I see everywhere.

Informed consent—sexual relationships, even some those that may seem consensual, are not always legal.   Informed consent , a legal term, implies that the persons who agree to relations are not impaired by substances, are not impaired mentally, and are of majority age.

Internet predators—thought to be individuals who troll (search) the Internet for psychologically vulnerable people, maybe children, but also trusting people who need friends.  The predator develops a relationship, usually through a social networking site, and grooms it to obtain sexual favors or financial gain, i.e., money or pornography.

Litigation — the threat of law suits and damages is always inherent when corporate, team, civil, or school social rules, rules that are not work related are scoffed, when individuals cross psychological, sexual, or physical boundaries.

Pedophilia—a mental disorder, a paraphilia, according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental and Behavioral Disorders-IV-TR (DSM-IV-TR, 2000).  Pedophilia is defined as having a sexual preference for prepubescent children.  That preference is manifested in persistent and recurrent thoughts, fantasies, urges, sexual arousal, or behavior.

Prejudice—hostile or negative attitude toward a distinguishable group of people, based solely on their membership in that group. 

Pornography and sexual exploitation—Internet predators seek out and groom teenagers, but also children and adults to supply an ever-growing demand for media and photographs with sexual content.  Because some targets are not old enough to provide informed consent, teens and prepubescent children are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, and ultimately, even sex addictions.

Position of authority – anyone who has the power to influence decisions by virtue of age, position, or rank.  Being in a position of authority enables people to exert unfair influence, to exploit those who are in subdominant roles, breaching what should be trust. 

Protected classes — legal designated “classes” include biological sex, age, ethnicity, race, disability, religion, national origin, or sexual identification.   The spirit behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is that everyone should be treated the same at work and at school.  The protected classes also include other groups, i.e., veterans.  Amendments that vary from state to state.

Relationship system— we start with one system, ourselves (made of many biological systems) and add family, partners, friends, people and institutions in the community, work colleagues and administrators, and find that we are a part of several of networks, or systems of relationships.

Scapegoating— when people are frustrated or unhappy, displace aggression onto groups that are disliked, visible, and relatively powerless. .

Sex addiction— an obsession with sexual gratification or sexual behavior.  Exposure to pornography at a young age seems to be associated with obsessive thoughts about sex that don’t disappear with growth and development.  Many think that sex addictions begin very young, probably due to experience with sexual abuse, or exposure to pornography.

Sexting—sending photographs or videos with sexual content over electronic media, i.e., cell phones and computers.  These are easily copied and disseminated, causing shame, embarrassment, and psychological distress for victims. 

Sexual harassment – (also see unwanted sexual communication and hostile environment)  On the scale of sexual assault, sexual harassment is often less physical, more often with words and pictures.  It is always emotionally upsetting and psychologically invasive if not physically aggressive.  The mere suggestion of desired sexual behavior or a body part might be sexual harassment, especially if it is repeated and disturbing.   Examples:
A sexual joke about someone’s sexual behavior, perhaps where that person slept the night before.  Patting someone, touching, even gently, and saying something about a body part, when the touch and the comment are unwanted.  Publicly saying things like:

I really put it to her! 

Even privately saying:  I want some of what you’ve got. 

Suggesting:  Go out with me, or you might just lose your job.

Social Intelligence  knowing when behavior or words will stress someone or will make them happy.  It is also referred to as a social or emotional IQ, and having empathy, feeling the feelings of others.

Social skill—a having a behavioral repertoire that makes others comfortable in social situations.  Socially skilled individuals usually have the ability to feel the feelings of others, but don’t always.

Stereotype— a generalization about a group of people in which identical characteristics are assigned to virtually all members of the group, regardless of actual variation among the members. 

Unwelcome sexual communication— a wide spectrum of undesired communication, i.e., sharing and sending unsolicited pornography, leering, stalking, coercion for sex, threatening job loss, unwanted touch, making offensive jokes.

Verbal abuse – more than a spouse calling another spouse a bad name, or making a sarcastic comment.  It is more than calling an employee stupid or incompetent.  It is even more than calling a player a disgrace.  (link “player a disgrace” to Team Wise). 

 It is also verbal abuse to threaten, to intimidate, scare, or coerce.  Whenever words convey something negative, whenever they directly insult or imply someone is deficient in a mean way, the interaction might be considered verbally abusive, a form or relationship violence.  These are allbuzz words for harassment litigation.