Gender safety: How can you sense the intention with the types of touches
Touch is a non-verbal way to communicate meanings, feelings and emotions. Where words can be a direct signifier of what a person wants to indicate, touches are the indirect signifiers along with other non-verbal signs like body language and expressions. Where a touch can be as trivial as just a handshake, its right conduct or misconduct can be identified just by being mindful of it. Here are a few touches, common meanings of which everyone must know –
1. A pat on the back
Generally done to give a sense of appreciation and support. Often done to make someone feel a sense of security.
2. A hug
A hug is a way to greet someone who is close. It is a gesture that denotes comfort generally received by a friend, parents or by partners.
3. Squeezing hug
Squeezing can, at times, reflect vulnerability; the need for closeness, intimacy, protection, and comfort. Although, the sign which shows that there is a problem is when the person hugging intentionally tries to touch other organs of the body.
4. Arm over shoulder
An arm over the shoulder is a gesture showing protectiveness, affection, need for closeness. Yet, the actions of the fingers of the arm kept over the shoulder is something one should be mindful of.
3. Gripping the arm
Gripping an arm is basically a request to stay put; a way to acquire security and guidance. Yet, the force with which the hand is being gripped is something one should keep a check on.
5. Hitting and pushing
Hitting and pushing both are gestures which are problematic and no one has the agency to do it. Where both of them can be a sign of anger, they can be a sign of violence and abuse as well.
6. Arm around waist
An act of being protectiveness, familiar and affection. Here, familiar is the keyword. And how is this gesture used and in what context is something to be kept in check.
7. Rubbing the neck
It is generally a way to comfort a person, often something that the partners prefer to do to increase the intimacy. Yet the intensity with which the hands are subbed is something to keep in check.
8. Touching your hair
Expressing familiarity or a need to be closer is what touching the hairs means. It is again something that couples generally practice to increase intimacy.
9. Rubbing near the private parts
Touching/ rubbing any part near the private part including the breast, thigh, genitalia without permission is an extremely alarming sign when it is without consent.
Above were the few signs of which every individual should be very conscious of. Although it is extremely subjective to call out any touch to be wrong, instincts must always be followed in such a case. And the first and the foremost thing that is significant is the consent. For even a handshake, consent is extremely important. Hence, every individual should know the fact that no one has the agency to touch their body without their permission and if they do then that can be an offence.
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