Sexual harassment is unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature and is the inappropriate use of sexual comments or activities in all environments of university life. Sexual harassment can violate your dignity, make you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and can create an unpleasant environment for everyone. It is totally unacceptable and anyone who reports an incident will always be believed and supported.
Here are some (but not all) forms of sexual harassment:
- emphasising the sex of a person or group in a negative way
- suggestive and/or unwelcome sexual comments or gestures
- unnecessary and/or unwelcome physical contact
- pulling at or lifting someone's clothing and/or exposing their body (in public or private) without consent
- unwelcome, sexually explicit comments or language via the internet
displaying or sending pornographic, degrading or indecent images electronically
Stalking is another form of harassment and is defined as persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pesteres and harassed. It includes behaviour that happens two or more times, directed at or towards you by another person, which causes you to feel alarmed or distressed or to fear that violence might be used against you.
Stalking can be particularly hard to cope with because it can go on for a long period of time, making you feel constantly anxious and afraid. Sometimes the problem can build up slowly and it can take a while for you to realise that you are caught up in an ongoing campaign of abuse. For more information and support, visit Paladin and the National Stalking Helpline.
"Upskirting" (also known as a "creepshot") is a more recent phenomena that involves someone taking a photograph underneath a person's skirt without their permission.This recent trend in behaviour is not currently a specific offence in the UK and Wales, however, if you witness or become a victim of such behaviour then you may report it through our online report and support system.
What to do if you are affected by any of these issues
- experience serious assault or sexual violence and are hurt or in danger,
- witness a serious assault or sexual violence and the person involved is hurt or in danger,
then you must seek help immediately. If you are on campus then you should report it to the university in the first instance and they will call the emergency services if necessary.
If you are on
- Colchester campus contact the information centre on Square 2, either in person or by calling extension 2222 or 01206 872222
- Southend campus contact University Square Reception either in person or by calling 01702 328400 or 07827 988085
- Loughton campus contact reception during office hours on extension 5983 or 020 8508 5983 or security from 5pm til midnight (Monday to Saturday) on 07825 670709.
If it is a non-emergency then you can report it online and someone will contact you within 3 working days, or you may decide to report an incident anonymously. This means that the incident will be logged for statistical purposes, however we are unable to take any direct action on anonymous reports.
- Rape crisis England and Wales - https://rapecrisis.org.uk/sexualharassment.php
- An extensive list of what is defined as sexual harassment from the UN - http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/pdf/whatissh.pdf
- Synergy - sexual abuse and rape support in Essex - https://synergyessex.org.uk/about.php
- Centre for action on Rape and Abuse in Essex - https://caraessex.org.uk/
- SERICC (South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre) - https://www.sericc.org.uk/