Sexual Harassment Online Training Introduction

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcomed sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual or gender-related nature that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or objectively and subjectively offensive as to substantially or effectively disrupt or undermine a person's ability to participate in or to receive the benefits, services, or opportunities of the University.

Who is Affected?

Anybody can be affected by sexual harassment. Who they specifically are does not matter. What matters is if they feel uncomfortable with the situation.

To tell if you or others may be affected by sexual harassment, look for the following signs:


  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Anger and fear
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Withdrawal from classes or work
  • Shame

Why is it a Problem?

Harassment interferes with people's educational and workplace experiences and productivity. It undermines those experiences and does not respect a person's goals, preferences, or choices.

Where Does it Happen?

Harassment occurs where people interact, such as when people are together to do work, to be with friends, to learn, or to socialize. For example, harassment can happen in the library, during social events, over the Internet, in offices, in classrooms, in meetings, and on dates.

How Does it Happen?

Often harassment occurs from a lack of responsibility. Factors in sexual harassment are often not listening, not caring, and not taking into account another person's rights, goals, preferences, or choices. In relationships, it can result from a real or perceived lack of closure on one person's part, or from unintended consequences from repeated contact, uninvited messages, and unwanted communication.

In educational and in workplace environments, it can result from inappropriate humor, comments based on someone's gender, comments based on someone's sexual orientation, or sharing sexually offensive materials. If any of these situations are so severe, pervasive or objectively offensive as to interfere with their ability and right to work in that environment, they are prohibited.

What's Next?

In the training materials and scenarios, we focus on the responsibilities that we all share, environments where we may encounter harassment situations, and what we can do to ensure a safe, healthy, respectful campus.

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