Where do you draw the line?
The University of Bamberg has created guidelines for respecting boundaries in order to improve general working conditions. A positive working atmosphere for both students and staff is an important prerequisite for the success of the university and the health and contentment of all its members.
Harassment, discrimination, bullying, and stalking of any kind destroy such an atmosphere and thus constitute inacceptable behaviour.
Those who are or have been impacted by such instances can contact the Women's Representative of their respective faculty.
The legal guidelines for these measures is outlined in the Guidelines for Respecting Boundaries.
NO means NO! - Practicing Respectful Interactions
The following information was put together by the women's office of the University of Bamberg based on the results of the Arbeitskreises sexuelle Belästigung der Landeskonferenz der Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragten bayerischer Universitäten (committee on sexual harassment at the state conference of women's representatives and equal opportunity officers of Bavarian universities).
You can also find all of the following information in the flyer "Nein heißt Nein" (only available in German).
Sexual harassment begins when signaled boundaries are crossed.
Sexual harassment is any sexual behavior that is not desired and is perceived as disrespectful and hurtful.
- making lewd jokes
- showing pornographic pictures
- inappropriate staring
- unwanted touching
- saying derogatory/sexist remarks about appearance, behavior, or personal life
- making unwanted requests or advances that are accompanied by promises of advantages or threats of disadvantages
- commiting criminal acts such as stalking, sexual coercion, and rape
Sexual harassment is always one-sided behavior that is fundamentally different from flirting or complimenting. It often leads to experiences such as stress, insecurity, fear, depression, other psychosomatic complaints, and—as a result—reduced performance or failure. There are women and men in all social contexts who are affected by sexual harassment—even at universities. Due to their hierarchical structure, existing relationships of dependency and power can be exploited, thereby making it easier to cross boundaries and introduce innappropriate advances. However, there are also cases in which sexual harassment occurs in the opposite hierarchical direction. In many cases, those affected have to fear negative outcomes such as harassment or discrimination if they defend themselves. In this way, they become double victims. This must be prevented.
Being able to sensitively handle issues of sexual harrasment is a good leadership quality. Sexual harassment must not be tolerated, trivialized, or ignored by people in positions of authority. If you are aware of any instances of sexual harassment or are asked for help, you must take action. If you are not sure how to behave in such a situation, contact the specified centers for advice.
The University of Bamberg is aware that sexual harassment does not stop at the doors of universities. We would like to offer all employees and students a respectful and considerate work and study environment. Therefore, sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence are not tolerated. Anyone who commits any of these acts will be punished accordingly, as we believe it is our duty to protect members of the university from sexual harassment.
The aim of the University of Bamberg is to create a work and study environment that allows everyone to move freely around the university. This means that the boundaries you set remain intact. If this is not the case, please contact the specificed centers for advice. All your information will be treated confidentially.
Part of our identity as a university is to be a work and study environment in which you can defend yourself against sexual harassment without fear of negative consequences.
Ignoring inappropriate language or behavior is the most ineffective way to deal with sexual harassment and is often interpreted as consent. Unfortunately, many victims deny or downplay sexual harassment out of fear of being perceived as prudish, sensitive, or humorless. Quick-witted and joking replies or mimicking the behavior of the harassing person may seem like a good solution, but these actions are equally as unsuccessful in stopping the behavior.
Those affected should create strict boundaries with clear words, understand that they are not an isolated case, and certainly not blame themselves for the harassment!
Don't wait for the misconduct to stop!
Don't isolate yourself or feel alone! Talk to people you trust and contact the appropriate counseling centers.
Clearly say and show that you do not accept this behavior!
"Mr. K., your remarks are incredibly inappropriate!”
"Prof., I am not interested in a relationship with you!"
"Ms. J., it makes me uncomfortable when you try to touch me like that. Please stop it!”
When someone in a higher position of authority than you sexualy harasses you, they are breaking formal and professional boundaries. These examples are worded in such a way that tries to reinforce these boundaries. However, such examples can always be accompanied by or followed up with more direct orders, like "Stop!" or "Don't do that!"
Document sexual harassment in a timely manner. In writing, state the place, time, and circumstances of the behavior, as well as anybody with whom you have already spoken about it.
Do not be afraid of negative consequences! This fear is the only thing that can give such perpetrators so much power.
In cases of sexual harassment, you can confide in and trust the offices listed below. The first thing they will do is listen to you, and if you want them to, they will then advise you on possible options. No steps will be taken without your consent!
Guidance at the University of Bamberg:
- Student Representatives in the Women's Affairs Advisory Board
- Equal Opportunity Officer of the University
- Psychotherapeutic Counseling through the Studentenwerk Würzburg
External Centers for Advice:
- Notruf bei sexualisierter Gewalt
Tel. 0951/98 68 73 0