Sexual harassment occurs when a person who is in a position of trust or authority engages in behaviors of a sexual nature that are inappropriate, unwanted, and/or nonreciprocal. It is a breach of the trusting relationship that normally exists between professors and students, teaching assistants and students, supervisors and employees, and others in the academic community. Sexual harassment creates confusion because the boundary is blurred between professional roles and personal relationships. The personal element is then introduced into what should be a sex-neutral situation.
Fact: Sexual harassment is an issue of power.
Forms of sexual harassment
Demeaning references to one's gender
Comments about one's body or clothing
Repeated and unwanted staring, comments, or propositions of a sexual nature
Jokes about sex or gender-specific traits
Questions about one's sexual behavior
Conversations filled with sexually suggestive innuendoes or double meanings
E-mail circulation of pornographic materials or harassing messages
Display or transmittal of sexually suggestive posters, objects or messages
Repeated nonreciprocated demands for dates or sex
Unwanted touching or attention of a sexual nature
Request for sex in exchange for grades, letters of recommendation or employment opportunity.
What can you do?
Say No - Make it absolutely clear to the harasser that his or her advances are unwanted and you want them stopped.
Don't Delay - Pay attention to cues or comments indicating harassment. If a person's behavior makes you uncomfortable, say so.
Keep a Record - Should the harassment continue, keep track of dates, times, witnesses, places and statements. This information can be used to support a complaint.
Talk With Others - Someone else may have been harassed by the same person. You will probably find others who are experiencing similar treatment and who would feel more comfortable confronting the harasser in a group rather than individually.
Sexual Harassment and Technology
Technology has changed the way people harass others. For concerns about this go to the following web site.
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