Sexual Harassment on College Campuses
College is an incredibly exciting time for most students, but it can be an anxiety-ridden time as well. A top concern that many students and their parents share is the risk of getting sexually harassed or abused on campus. A sexual assault and sexual misconduct survey by the Association of American Universities (AAU) found that almost 50% of college students endured some form of sexual harassment.
The most affected demographic are gender nonconforming and transgender students, followed by female undergraduates, female graduate students, male undergraduates, and male graduate students. Most sexual harassment incidents go unreported due to fear of retaliation. Understanding what sexual harassment looks like on college campuses is crucial for students and their parents or guardians.
What Exactly is Sexual Harassment on College Campuses?
Sexual harassment involves unwelcome sexual behavior or advances and requests for sex-related favors. It must unreasonably interfere with the victim’s school performance or create a hostile, offensive, or intimidating school environment. Common examples of behavior that are considered sexual harassment as defined under Title IX are:
- Hugging, patting, or touching a person’s body
- Sexually-charged stories, jokes, statements, or jokes
- Comments of a sexual nature, whether written or verbal, including online or through electronic correspondences, among others, which typically do not include things suitable for discussion as part of an academic activity, like lectures, courses, seminars, colloquia, etc.
- Sexual flirtations, invitations, propositions, or solicitations
- Judgmental or derogatory gestures about a person’s gender, sexual activity, sexual orientation, or experience
- Asking another person for dates even after repeated refusals
- Sexual requests as a condition or term of academic status
- Attempted rape, rape, sexual assault, or other sexual abuse or violence
You should also know that sexual harassment isn’t limited to in-person interactions. It can happen through online interactions, text messages, phone conversations, chat messages, social media, and other modes of communication.
In addition, note that flirting is different from sexual harassment. Flirting should be fun and pleasurable to all the parties involved. On the other hand, if another person’s conduct is unwelcome, sexually-charged, and makes you feel unsafe, intimidated, scared, or uncomfortable, you are being sexually harassed, whether intentionally or unintentionally and directly or indirectly.
You also do not have to show that you were physically harmed by a sexual harassment incident, only that your harasser committed sexual harassment or made your school environment hostile.
Along with the harasser, your college, people in your school, and other third parties, can be held liable for the incident if they were aware or should’ve known that there was sexual harassment happening and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent or stop it. You may also hold them liable for damages even if they shouldn’t have known or didn’t know about the harassment.
Get Legal Advice From an Experienced Davidson County Sexual Harassment Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been sexually harassed or abused, please reach out to our Davidson County sexual harassment lawyer for legal guidance on what you should do next. All sensitive and personal details you share with us will remain private. You can contact Raybin & Weissman online or at 615-256-6666 to schedule your free, judgment-free case consultation with our Davidson County sexual harassment lawyer.