Information on sexual harassment
What is sexual harassment?
Any behaviour with sexual connotations that is not wanted by the other person and which degrades them on the basis of their gender is considered to be sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment can take various forms, such as:
- Offensive and uncomfortable comments
- Sexist phrases and jokes
- Sharing, displaying or posting of sexist material
- Physical contact and intrusive behaviour, repeated unwanted invitations
- Advances accompanied by the promise of a reward or the threat of negative consequences
Flirting or sexual harassment? What’s the difference?
At first, it may seem difficult to draw a clear line between harmless flirting, a friendly interaction and sexual harassment. But there’s one simple rule: the decisive factor is not the intentions of the person doing the flirting, but rather how their behaviour is received by the other person – whether it encroaches on their personal boundaries in an undesirable way.
|is a mutual interaction||is a one-sided approach|
|is uplifting, empowering||is degrading, offensive|
|is wanted by both parties||is not wanted by the other person|
|boosts self-esteem||undermines self-esteem|
|makes people happy||triggers anger|
|brightens the working day||creates a toxic working environment|
|respects personal boundaries||violates personal boundaries|
What should you do if you are affected by sexual assault?
If you think you are being sexually harassed, have the courage to say ‘no’! And do not blame yourself. You are not responsible for other people’s misconduct. Voice your discomfort, whether to senior members of staff, lecturers, colleagues or fellow students. That is your right. After all, this is about ensuring that your personal boundaries are respected. It’s about your safety in the workplace and at university.
Act quickly and avoid negative consequences
Sexual harassment can have a serious impact on your physical and mental health. By taking action quickly, you can protect your personal integrity and therefore avoid any negative consequences to your professional career and personal development.
Stay vigilant – take responsibility
BFH calls on all students and staff members to play their part in cultivating a respectful, positive work and study environment that prevents sexual harassment. If you see somebody being harassed, take a closer look and intervene. By doing this, you help to stop incidents of sexual harassment at BFH and prevent absences from work and dismissals. Take responsibility. If you have any questions or need some advice, please contact the services listed below.