Myths and Facts
MYTH: Sexual harassment is harmless. People who object have no sense of humor.
FACT: Harassment is humiliating and degrading. It undermines school careers, often threatens employment status, and interferes with a person’s emotional well-being. No one should endure humiliation with a smile.
MYTH: People invite sexual harassment by their behavior or dress.
FACT: Sexual harassment is not a sexually motivated act, but is an expression of hostility and/or power focused on differences in gender or sexual orientation. People do not invite sexual harassment.
MYTH: If ignored, the problem of sexual harassment and stalking will go away.
FACT: Generally, the harasser is persistent and does not stop on his/her own, and often has more than one target. When a victim ignores the advances, leers, comments, or suggestions, the harasser may interpret this behavior as consent or encouragement.
MYTH: Sexual harassment is a rare occurrence.
FACT: Federal statistics report that in Fiscal Year 2002, the EEOC received 14,396 charges of sexual harassment.
MYTH: Sexual harassment and stalking are practiced only by men against women.
FACT: Although the problem most often involves men harassing women, it sometimes occurs the other way around or may involve individuals of the same gender. Harassment usually involves individuals using their authority, power, or perceived status or relationship inappropriately. Whenever it occurs, it is wrong.
MYTH: Nothing can be done about someone who tracks your movements, follows you, or constantly calls if he or she has not made any direct threats.
FACT: Stalking is against the law and repeated behavior that is meant to cause emotional distress, or creates fear of bodily injury, can be prosecuted.
Additional statistics about sexual harassment on college campuses can be found at http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/182369.pdf