What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwanted, sexually motivated behaviour, a transgression of boundaries that is perceived as disrespectful and hurtful, and always an expression of a desire for power. Sexual harassment begins where personal boundaries are crossed.

Such behaviour has nothing to do with flirting or compliments: it is always one-sided, unwanted and transgresses personal boundaries. Those affected experience it as insulting, degrading and humiliating, combined with stress, insecurity and fear.

Sexual harassment has many faces: 

01_verbal harassment includes, for example, sexually suggestive remarks and jokes, sexually ambiguous comments, inappropriate questions about private life or intimacy, intrusive invitations to meet or requests for intimate or sexual acts.

02_non-verbal harassment, such as a piercing stare or staring down the neckline or body, whistling, degrading gestures, sending unsolicited messages, photos or videos with sexual connotations, posting or distributing pornographic material or intrusive advances in social networks.

03_physical forms of harassment range from any unwanted, sometimes seemingly casual touches (stroking, patting, groping) to repeated physical advances such as the imposition of hugs or kisses to exhibitionist actions and sexual assaults.

In the rarest cases, the experience of sexual harassment or assault is openly discussed. Some may think the topic is still taboo, out of shame or fear because it may involve questions of power or possible detrimental repercussions at work or everyday life at the university, or a lack of knowledge about protections that exist to protect victims against it. 

We want to change that.