What Can Be Done to Stop Sexual Harassment
If you feel you have been sexually harassed, do not remain silent. Ignoring
sexual harassment does not make it go away. Indeed, it may make it worse
as the harasser may misinterpret a lack of response as approval of the behavior.
There are several things that can be done to stop sexual harassment:
Know your rights. Sexual harassment is illegal.
Stanford University has a specific policy prohibiting sexual harassment.
Familiarize yourself with this policy.
Speak up. If you can, tell the person to stop.
State clearly and firmly that you want a particular behavior to cease. This
is not a time to be polite or vague. There is a chance that the harasser
does not realize that a particular behavior is offensive. If you feel you
cannot speak up, talk with one of the resource persons listed at the back
of this brochure for further help and guidance.
Get information and support. Sexual harassment
advisers can provide support and advice about Stanford's policy and procedures.
An adviser can help you understand your options and explore ways of resolving
your particular situation. They will review with you the informal and formal
steps available for dealing with issues of sexual harassment. If you choose
to file a formal complaint, it will be investigated by the appropriate University
officer. Sexual harassment advisers can assist in informal resolutions which
might include any of the following:
Write a letter. Many people have successfully stopped
sexual harassment by writing a letter to the harasser. The letter includes
a factual account of the offending behavior, a description of how the behavior
was experienced by the writer, and a simple statement that the writer wants
that particular behavior to stop. The letter should be polite, low-key and
factual. A copy should be kept by the writer. In the unlikely event that
the letter fails to achieve its purpose, it could be used as evidence in
support of a formal complaint or lawsuit. Copies should be sent to no one
else. If the letter is to work, it must be a private communication between
the persons involved. The recipient of the letter rarely writes back and
usually the sexual harassment stops immediately.
Arrange a moderated discussion. If you request
this (and the other party agrees), a moderated discussion can be set up to
assist in resolving the situation. A more structured mediation is also possible,
if both parties agree.
Arrange direct intervention on your behalf. If
you wish, a University officer and/or adviser could speak to the other party
in order to assist in resolving the situation.
Keep records or a journal. Save any letters, e-mail,
or notes received, as they can be helpful if the harassment persists. Record
dates, places, times, witnesses and the nature of the harassmentwhat
was said when, and how you responded.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Do not blame yourself. Sexual harassment is not something one brings on oneself.
Do not delay. Delay in action in cases of sexual harassment only increases
the probability that the harassing behavior will continue.
Do not hesitate to seek help. Being quiet about sexual harassment enables
it to continue. Chances are very good that you are not the only one who has
been harassed. Speaking up may prevent others from being harmed.