Sexual harassment is when one person makes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affect another person's wellbeing or ability to perform in any area of their life; or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
- violates your dignity
- makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated
- creates a hostile or offensive environment
Sexual harassment can include:
- sexual comments or jokes
- physical behaviour, including unwelcome sexual advances, touching and various forms of sexual assault
- displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature
- sending emails with a sexual content
You don’t need to have previously objected to someone's behaviour for it to be considered unwanted. Sexual harassment or assault can happen to anyone and can be done by anyone. Sexual harassment can happen anywhere - in the context of an existing relationship, or from a stranger, or in a workplace context. Sexual harassment is often not related to whether the person doing the behaviour is attracted to the other person – it can be more about bullying to get power over a person or punish them for something they have done or not done. Sexual misconduct is a specific term for when the sexual harassment happens in the context of an unequal power balance, such as between a lecturer or supervisor and their student.