Sophia University

About Definition of Harassment

Definition of Harassment

Harassment on Campus

Society faces various types of harassment; harassments that are likely to occur on campus are sexual harassment, academic harassment and power harassment. The definitions and case examples of the three types of harassment are given below.

Definition and case examples of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and physical behavior or verbal expressions arising from a sexually discriminative disposition. In determining whether a particular act constitutes sexual harassment, consideration will be given to the impression of the offended person, whether he/she finds it disagreeable or not.

The following cases are some of the examples:

_At a karaoke party a person became drunk and forced you to sing a duet with him/her and wrapped his/her arms tightly around you.

Being drunk is not an excuse for such an act. The act performed is the issue and there is no excuse for the harasser even if he/she "did not mean to".

_A picture of a nude was hung on the walls of the research lab or on the computer screen and it made you feel uncomfortable.

The harasser did not actually say anything specific or touch anyone, but he/she has made the environment hostile.

_Your academic supervisor told you to come to his/her office for individual study and there asked you out for a date or dinner. Reluctantly, you had to accept invitations a few times, but you firmly rejected it later on. Then the academic supervisor started to pick on you during classes and gave you the lowest grade.

It is quid pro quo sexual harassment when a person with a higher status in an academic relationship, such as an academic supervisor, makes unwelcome requests and, when rejected, exacts some form of retribution.

_A person asked you out for a date and you rejected it several times and now he/she follows you frequently.

Stalking is a harmful act of sexual violence which frightens and threatens the victim, inducing anxiety and fears for one's safety.

_A senior student I have been going out with has become violent. When I refused to go out on a date the other day he hit me in the face and it left a bruise. But the next day he is suddenly nice and gentle again, and I cannot make up my mind to leave him.

It may be difficult to tell the partner that such violent behavior (dating/domestic violence) is unwelcome as you feel you should put up with it because “I know he likes me” or “if I complain he will not like me any more”. It is difficult to tell someone that you dislike such behavior because you may think "He likes me so it can't be helped" or "I have to put up with it because he won't like me if I complain". However, violence is never an expression of affection. Clearly tell him that you want him to stop before the violence escalates further.

_You are a member of a student club that has very few male members. You were asked to do all the heavy physical work and when you gave a hint of fatigue you were ridiculed for "being a man and so weak".

It is "gender harassment" based on the social gender roles of femininity and masculinity. Different from the biological "sex", gender is a socially and culturally formed type of sexuality.

Definition of Academic Harassment and some examples

Academic harassment is discrimination committed by persons with authority or in higher position such as senior professors abusing their power against junior faculty members or students through inappropriate behavior in educational and research environment.

○Your supervising professor asks you frequently to help him/her in classes and other odd jobs without pay. When you rejected the request once, you were reprimanded for “not being willing to receive his/her guidance and teaching” and from then on you find it difficult to attend classes.

→It is academic harassment when persons with authority or in higher academic position abuse their power through inappropriate behavior, guidance or treatment. Sophia will not tolerate any such harassment to affect the motivation of students and educational environment.

Definition of Power Harassment and some examples

Power harassment is committed by faculty or staff members abusing their power against other members through inappropriate behavior at work.

○Your superior officer gives you a heavy work load clearly exceeding the limits and you are unable to complete the work by the time limit. The superior accuses you of being “incompetent” in the presence of your fellow workers and when you object he/she tells you to “quit the job, if you do not like it”.

→It is power harassment when a person abuses his/her power and position to an inferior who can not disobey and gives unreasonable orders and reprimands.