How to Support a Friend: Sexual Harassment

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What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance. This includes requests for sexual favors and other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with your work or education. It may also create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or learning environment. Sexual harassment commonly occurs, but is infrequently discussed, as it often makes people feel uneasy. We hear people joke about it, but when it happens, it can cause emotional, psychological, physical and material harm. The specific impact varies from person to person. Remember, sexual harassment is against the law and university policy. For UC Davis Policy, go to:



• Directly or indirectly bribing you with or threatening you for sexual favors
• Writing you letters, notes, e-mails, etc. of a sexual nature
• Touching, tickling, stroking, or brushing up against you
• Spreading rumors about your sexuality
• Using crude, sexually charged language
• Telling jokes of a sexual nature
• Displaying pictures, posters, calendars, etc. of a sexual nature
• Making sexually suggestive sounds or gestures
• Making sexual comments about your body, hair, clothing, etc.
• Using electronic media, such as e-mail, texting, chatting or facebook to transmit sexual images or comments

This is not an all-encompassing list. These are broad examples of some behaviors that could be considered sexual harassment if they are affecting your ability to work or learn.



• Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right to you, then it probably isn’t right.
• Ask yourself if the person is engaging in harassment knows that their behavior is unwelcome. If not, think about whether it’s feasible for you to say “no” in person or in writing.
• Document the harassment. Write down each incident including date, time, place, and any witnesses. Detail what happened and include your response. Keep a copy at home. This information will be useful if you decide to take action.
• Get emotional support from friends and family and/or campus resources listed below.
• Look for witnesses and other victims. You many not be the first person who has been mistreated by this individual. Ask around; you may find others who have had similar experiences.
• File a complaint. If it feels right to you, filing a complaint is definitely an option. The Sexual Harassment Education Program is a great place to get more information on the process.
• Understand that retaliation against someone for complaining about sexual harassment is illegal and against university policy.


Staff in these offices are knowledgeable about sexual harassment and are available to all students, staff and faculty. They are a good place to start:

Campus Resources

• Sexual Harassment Education Program (530) 752-9255 anonymous hotline (530) 752-2255 |

• Student Judicial Affairs (530) 752-1128 |


• Campus Violence Prevention Program (530) 752-3299 |

• Counseling and Psychological Services (530) 752-0871 |

• Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Asexual Resource Center (530) 752-2452 |

• Women’s Resources and Research Center (530) 752-3372 |

If you’d like to read about sexual harassment, visit the WRRC Library; you can also browse the library catalog online at


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