fitness instructor likes to get a little too handsy. How should
you handle it?
everybody can read signals clearly. Women, who understand
nonverbal communication more effectively than men, think that a
tight smile, an awkward laugh, freezing in place or pulling away
from touch is enough.
So say it
out loud and clear: "I notice that you are a very touchy,
huggy person, but I am uncomfortable with that. Could you please
honor my need for space?"
instructor still doesn’t get it, I would suggest a stronger
example: "In the last three weeks, you have touched me in a
way that I felt is inappropriate four times. I am telling you to
stop; it makes me feel uncomfortable."
do this in public, not loud enough for other people to hear, but
just so that you’re not in any danger and have someone who has
Wood, body language expert and professional speaker
instructors should always explicitly ask for consent to touch
participants or make physical adjustments for form. If you are
comfortable, consider addressing the instructor directly. Say
something like, "I would rather not be touched" or
"I would prefer verbal rather than physical
continues thereafter, consider contacting the fitness director
or other supervisor to communicate your concern. The issue goes
unaddressed? Think about making a formal report to the facility.
feel safe doing so, you can contact law enforcement or an
organization that specializes in sexual harassment for guidance
that any contact that makes you uncomfortable is serious and
should be addressed.
Colleen Daly, fitness instructor and director of communications
for End Rape on Campus, an organization focused on ending sexual
violence through survivor support