v Off-color jokes?
v Center folds on the wall?
v Sexual innuendoes?
Fun? No, not necessarily. Sexual harassment? Possibly.
It’s a confusing and controversial topic.
Think of sexual harassment as a form of communication that can be perceived in different ways:
One by the communicator, another by the recipient, and
Yet another by an “objective” third party.
Sexual harassment takes several forms:
- Unwelcome or coercive sexual advances in exchange for favorable treatment, or under the threat of unfavorable treatment. e.g., grades; jobs; promotions.
- Sexually-related behaviors that create a hostile academic, living, or work environment and interfere with someone’s academic or work performance e.g., unwanted sexual comments, e-mails jokes, or publicly posted sexual graphics,
- Persistent and unwanted communication of a sexual nature e.g., in person, by phone or e-mail, or insistent pursuit after a break-up,
- It can involve repeated actions, or one incident if sufficiently severe; can occur between peers, in hierarchical relationships, or between persons of the same or opposite gender; can be subtle or blatant
- If sexual touching is involved it can also be sexual assault
Sexual harassment can:
- Create fear and intimidation
- Be an abuse of power or an attempt to control someone else
- Lead to tension or conflict in a community
- Deprive others of the opportunities they came to Stanford to enjoy – to study, work, and live in a supportive environment
Sexual harassment violates university policy and can bring about legal and university disciplinary sanctions.
How To Stop It
- Don’t put up with it - there’s no reason to blame yourself – it’s not your fault
- Speak up - silence enables harassment to continue toward you or someone else; keep notes, records, and e-mails,
- Tell the person to stop, verbally or in writing - be firm and clear – they’ll often back off, or give them this flyer
- If you want support, ask a trusted person in authority to assist you - e.g., residential staff, staff or faculty,
- Avoid misunderstandings: when communicating about sexual matters, your style may be different from others’ - what’s acceptable to one may not be to another, if in doubt, check it out
- When someone says, “stop” or expresses uneasiness, respect their limits -ask yourself if you would want your sister or brother to be addressed this way.
- When a relationship is breaking up, formerly endearing behaviors can become offensive, so if your “ex” expresses discomfort, back off, and talk your feelings through with a neutral party
- There are extra risks if you become involved sexually with someone who is in an inherently unequal position. e.g., teacher/student; dorm resident/staff – consent may be misunderstood, and later, breaking up can have major consequences
Feel Free to contact us
The “Psychologist” Psychological Counseling Centre’s at
Vivekanantha Psychological Counseling Centre Health Line