What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment is unwanted or unwelcome words, conduct, or behaviour of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, embarrassing, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the recipient.  It can include sexual jokes or comments both in person or online, via text or physical contact such as unwelcome sexual advances or touching.  Sexual harassment can make you feel anxious, depressed and lead to other problems, such as difficulties concentrating or sleeping, nightmares etc.

Sexual Harassment is contrary to the University’s Dignity at Work and Study policy. The following are some examples of behaviour that the University considers sexual harassment/misconduct offences and include:
  • Sharing or creating private sexual materials such as videos and photographs in physical or online spaces.
  • Sharing or creating public sexual materials i.e. those pornographic materials that are widely available via media outlets in physical or online spaces with the intention to sexually harass and/or incite gender-based violence.
  • Inappropriately showing sexual organs to another person, or inappropriately allowing sexual organs to be seen, in a physical or online space.
  • Repeated unwanted and unsolicited contact of a sexual nature with another person in person, by telephone, or in any online or digital space.
  • Making unwanted remarks that may reasonably be perceived to be of a sexual nature e.g. asking personal questions about sexual matters; making sexual comments about a person’s body; telling sexual jokes or stories; making sexual comments or innuendo.
  • Making unwarranted and unsolicited sex-based noises to another person e.g. catcalling, wolf-whistling, sexual grunting or moaning.
  • Anyone can be subjected to sexual harassment and unwanted sexual behaviour, whether you’re gay, straight, bi or trans. Some people might think that sexual harassment towards someone of the same sex (for example, a woman sexually harassing another woman) might not be taken seriously, but that isn’t the case.
Sexual Harassment isn’t normal and you’re not ‘asking for it’, whatever the circumstances.
 
What is Stalking?
 
A stalker can be someone you know, a past boyfriend or girlfriend or a stranger. Stalking is not a ‘one-off’ crime but is a series of incidents which makes you feel harassed. Often when taken in isolation these incidents can appear trivial but when put together they can become more sinister and a pattern of abuse starts to emerge. 

Stalking and harassment can be particularly difficult to cope with as it can go on for a long period of time. It can leave you in a constant state of fear and anxiety. Stalking and harassment can often build up slowly and it can actually take a while for you to realise that you are actually being stalked and are in the middle of a campaign of harassment and abuse.  

Stalking can cover a wide range of activities and can include:
  • unwanted or malicious communication
  • unwanted attention from somebody seeking a romantic relationship
  • violent predatory behaviour
  • sending gifts which are unwanted
  • persistently following someone
  • repeatedly going uninvited to their home
  • loitering somewhere frequented by the person
  • interfering with or damaging their property
  • watching or spying on someone
  • cyber-stalking which includes on-line stalking and threats

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