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Sexual Harassment

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Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or of educational progress; or
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting that employee or student; or
  3. such conduct has the effect or purpose of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work performance or a student's academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.

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Can it happen to you?

Yes, it can happen to any person regardless of age, occupation, physical appearance or marital status. It can happen between peers or between people of different status. While it is usually directed by men towards women, the reverse does happen. Sexual harassment can also take place between individuals of the same sex.

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What can be done?

  • Say No - Tell the harasser the behaviour is unwanted and you want it to stop.
  • Don't Delay - Pay attention to cues or comments indicating harassment. If a person's behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable, say so.
  • Keep a Record - Should the harassment continue, keep a record of dates, times, locations, witnesses, statements and behaviours. Also note how you felt.
  • Seek Advice - The University of Victoria has professional staff on campus to provide confidential advice and information. Phone 721-7007.

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Are you afraid that...

  • You will suffer retaliation from the harasser?
  • People will think "you asked for it?"
  • You have misread the initiator's intentions?
  • You are somehow responsible for the harasser's behaviour?

These fears are often reported by people who have suffered from sexual harassment. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Don't accept these actions as the "way things are." You do not have to endure abuse from peers or from people in positions of power.

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Examples of behaviour that can be sexually harassing:

  • sexist jokes that are, by their nature, clearly embarrassing or offensive
  • display of sexually offensive material
  • derogatory name-calling
  • sexually suggestive or obscene comments or gestures
  • unwelcome inquiries or comments about a person's sex life
  • sexual looks such as leering and ogling with suggestive overtones
  • persistent and unwelcome requests for "dates"
  • unwelcome, offensive sexual flirtations, advances and propositions
  • requests for sexual favours
  • unwanted touching, patting or pinching
  • verbal threat or abuse
  • sexual assault

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Sexual Harassment can:

  • be physical or psychological in nature
  • be one incident or a series of incidents
  • affect individuals or groups
  • occur on or off campus

The University of Victoria is committed to providing an atmosphere of work and study in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work and study in an atmosphere which promotes equal opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on sex. Employees and students experience sexual harassment as offensive, degrading and threatening. The University of Victoria does not tolerate sexual harassment. Help is available: for confidential advice, information & assistance, call Equity and Human Rights at 250-721-7007.

Remember: the University of Victoria does not tolerate sexual harassment.

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