If you know someone who has been harassed or if you been harassed, there are informal and formal strategies for responding.

Sometimes people may blame or hold the victim responsible for what occurred rather than holding the person who did the harassing accountable. If you know someon who has been harrased, you can help by believing and supporting persons who have been harassed. Tell them it’s not their fault, refer them to the resources listed, and give them a copy of this brochure. If you know about or observe sexual harassment or stalking at Bucknell, speak up, report it, or make referrals. Silence only allows the problem to continue.

 

Informal Strategies for Responding to Sexual Harassment

There are a number of informal strategies you can use to combat sexual harassment. Consider the following:

  • Be Assertive. At the first sign of trouble, speak up clearly and firmly. For example, you might say, "I don’t like what you are doing, and I want you to stop."
  • Talk To People You Trust. Sharing your experience helps to avoid isolation and a tendency to blame yourself. Ask if others have had similar experiences. Find out if others have been harassed by the same person and if they will support you if you decide to take action.
  • Seek Appropriate Support. Confidential emotional support, counseling, and information on options are available on campus. For assistance, contact Psychological Services, the Women’s Resource Center, Human Resources, the Affirmative Action Officer, or the Employee Assistance Program. (See the Resources section for these phone numbers.)
  • Keep Records. Document the dates, places, times, witnesses and nature of the harassment, including the harasser’s words and behavior as well as your own response and feelings. This information can be valuable if you decide to press formal charges.
  • Write a letter to the harasser. A letter seems to be more powerful than a verbal request in some cases, and may be effective in stopping the harassment immediately. Try to use "I" messages such as "I don’t like what you’re doing," or "I feel embarrassed." Avoid name calling or accusations.
    • The detailed letter should include three parts:
      Part I Give a factual account of what has happened, as you see it, without any evaluation or accusation. Include dates, places, and a complete description of the incident(s).
      Part II Describe your feelings and reactions to the incident(s) noted in Part I, such as fear, disgust, anger, mistrust, humiliation, anxiety, headaches, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, etc. For example, "When you touch me and call me sweetheart, I feel angry," or "I have had trouble sleeping at night because of your behavior."
      Part III Clearly tell the harasser what you expect to happen next. This part can be very short. For example, "I never want you to make remarks about my sexuality," or "I want you to withdraw my last evaluation until we can work out a fair one."
      The letter should be delivered either in person or by certified or registered mail. You should keep a copy of the letter.
  • Report the behavior. Document it on a course evaluation form to alert a faculty member that his or her behavior is inappropriate. Send a note or talk to the employee’s supervisor about your concerns.
  • Take assertiveness training. Through this training, you can learn a wide range of behaviors to confront uncomfortable situations such as sexual harassment. Contact the Women’s Resource Center or Psychological Services for more information.
  • Know your rights. Sometimes the harasser may want to apologize or discuss the situation. If you don’t want to, you don’t need to talk about it. You can simply restate that you want the behavior to stop, and there’s no need to discuss it further.

Formal Strategies for Responding to Sexual Harassment

The University also has formal procedures to deal with incidents of sexual harassment. If you believe you are being sexually harassed, you are encouraged to seek help by pursuing one of the following options. You may decide at any point whether or not to participate in further proceedings.

 

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