Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behaviour which compromises your dignity and can makes you feel offended, humiliated, intimidated or threatened. Sexual harassment may be verbal, non-verbal or physical. It can range from rude remarks about your appearance to violence and assault, and can include:
- sexual innuendoes
- indecent or offensive remarks or jokes
- questions or comments about your sex life
- demands for sexual favours
- being leered or stared at
- the display of sexually explicit material (for example, in an office)
- unwanted physical contact, such as brushing up against you or pinching you
- ‘Upskirting’ refers to the act of taking a photograph (also known as a “creepshot”) of underneath a person’s skirt without their permission
Being a witness to or experiencing an indecent act may make you feel incredibly uncomfortable and vulnerable, particularly if you are alone. If the person or persons responsible are exhibiting intimidating behaviours, then you may feel unable to confront them for fear of further discomfort and/or of being threatened. The knowledge that someone has harassed you or taken potentially graphic images without consent can cause emotional distress for a long time after the event itself.
Sexual harassment is an abuse of power. Many people are reluctant to complain about it, because they are afraid of making the situation worse, and possibly losing their job, home or friends as a result. They may feel that it's just part of life, and must be tolerated.
However, no one should have to put up with sexual harassment nor any form of stalking related behaviours - both of which are contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and in breach of the University's Student Code of Conduct.