Are You Being Sexually Harassed?

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Our Gender-Based Misconduct Policy provides you with detailed information about your rights as a victim of harassment, your options for reporting, and resources available to you.

You can also quickly get helpful phone numbers by selecting the campus you attend.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment in the employment context is unwelcome, sex- or gender-based verbal or physical conduct that unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

In the education context, sexual harassment is the same conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive enough that it interferes with or limits an individual's ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs and activities.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, expressive or physical conduct of a sexual nature. It also includes other verbal, nonverbal, or physical acts that are based on gender or gender-stereotyping.

Sexual harassment is not mutual and is rude, demeaning behavior that is usually about the abuse of power.

In the workplace, women are 9 times more likely than men to quit their jobs, 5 times more likely to transfer, and 3 times more likely to lose jobs because of sexual harassment. The most common complaints from college victims of sexual harassment are inappropriate jokes, looks, or gestures, suggestive touching, grabbing, or pinching.

Examples of Sexual Harassing Behaviors:

  • A colleague makes unwelcome jokes or comments about sex at work or in the classroom.
  • Your ex-partner won't stop calling, texting, following you, or showing up at your residence or place of work even after you've asked them to stop.
  • Your professor makes frequent sexual jokes, stares at you, touches you, or insinuates that you will get a better grade or other reward if you engage in a close relationship.
  • An acquaintance has been spreading rumors around campus about your sexuality.
  • A neighbor in your residence hall puts sexually graphic materials on the door to your room.

Is It Sexual Harassment Or Flirting?

Sexual Harassment Flirting
feels badfeels good
feels unattractivefeels attractive
is degradingis a compliment
feels powerlessin control
negative touchingpositive touching
negative self-esteempositive self-esteem

What Should I Do?

  • Consider contacting the police, campus security, and/or NYIT
  • Contact NYIT's Counseling and Wellness Center for professional support
  • Document the incidents of harassment and tell a friend or family member
  • Below are some other tips for addressing sexual harassment. Depending on the circumstances and your relationship to the harasser, some of these ideas may not be feasible or appropriate. Use your judgment and don't hesitate to reach out for help

Confronting Sexual Harassment

  • Do the unexpected: name the behavior. Whatever the harasser has just said or done, say it, and be specific.
  • Hold the harasser accountable for their actions. Don't make excuses for them; don't pretend it didn't really happen. Take charge of the encounter and let people know what they did. Privacy protects harassers, but visibility undermines them.
  • Make honest, direct statements. Speak the truth (no threats, no insults, no obscenities, no appeasing verbal fluff and padding). Be serious, straightforward, and blunt.
  • Demand that the harassment stop.
  • Make it clear that all individuals have the right to be free from sexual harassment. Objecting to harassment is a matter of principle.
  • Stick to your own agenda. Don't respond to the harasser's excuses or diversionary tactics.
  • Reinforce your statements with strong, self-respecting body language: eye contact, head up, shoulders back, a strong, serious stance. Don't smile. Timid, submissive body language will undermine your message.
  • Respond at the appropriate level. Understand that there are times you should not intervene yourself if the harassment is aggressively physical.

How Am I Going To Feel?

  • Emotional shock and disbelief that this is happening
  • Embarrassment
  • Fear of what the harasser will do
  • Vulnerable and feeling unsafe
  • Depressed, overwhelmed, angry
  • Stressed
  • Confused, frustrated, isolated

Getting Support

Sexual harassment can sometimes be related to other interpersonal violence. We therefore encourage you to check out these other resources.

Sexual harassment can also be unpredictable and unavoidable if it is being perpetrated by a professor, classmate, or someone else you encounter regularly. This can add to the stress that you may already feel. Seek help to deal with the emotions you are having by reaching out to NYIT's Counseling and Wellness Center or a community resource in addition to friends and family. Ask for help when you need it.

Find other ways to take care of yourself, reduce your stress, and make yourself feel safe, as dealing with sexual harassment can be an overwhelming situation. Take time to be creative and do something that you enjoy and remember that everyone copes with these difficult situations differently.