What Is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; and, in Kentucky, by the Fair Employment Practices Act, KRS 344-010-.500,207.170.

Sexual harassment: is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission to or rejection of this conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education advancement or employment;
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual;
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.

Sexual Violence: The Title IX requirements that pertain to sexual harassment also cover sexual violence. Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability.

Examples of Sexual Harassment
The following types of conduct are some examples of sexual harassment and sexual violence:

Sexual Harassment

  • Direct sexual advances, propositions, invitations or demands for sexual favors
  • Unwelcome physical contact such as touching, patting, grabbing or rubbing
  • Suggestive remarks about a person’s physical attributes or clothing
  • Repeated, unwelcome requests for dates
  • Displaying or distributing sexually offensive posters, pictures, words or messages; sexual or derogatory comments/pictures about men/women on coffee mugs, hats, clothing, etc.
  • Offensive sexual questions, jokes, cartoons, graffiti or stories
  • Seeking sexual favors in return for the promise of academic or employment privileges
  • Sexually suggestive leering or other offensive gestures
  • Lewd and threatening letters, emails, texts or phone calls
  • Indecent exposure and displaying of pornography
  • Offensive conduct such as; hooting, whistling, lip-smacking, and animal noises
  • Sexual assault

Sexual Violence

  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault or Battery
  • Sexual Coercion

What Should You Do If You Experience Sexual Harassment?

  • Be aware of Thomas More’s Sexual Harassment Policy. Every member of the Thomas More community has the right to experience an environment free from discriminating or harassing behavior. Know what resources are available to you on campus.
  • Talk to someone you trust about the situation.
  • Do not ignore the offensive behavior. Being quiet about the incident enables sexual harassment to continue. You may not have been the only person harassed by the offender. Speaking up may prevent others from being harassed.
  • Get information and support. Seek assistance from the university. You can talk about the situation to the Dean of Students, Director of Safety or the Sexual Harassment/Title IX Coordinator.
  • Keep records. Save any emails, texts, letters or phone messages that you may have received from the offender. Record everything you can remember about the offender and the situation.

What Should You Do If You Have Been Assaulted?

  • Get to a place where you feel safe.
  • Contact someone you feel safe with and trust. You have the option of contacting the Sexual Harassment Coordinators, Dean of Students or Director of Safety.
  • It is important not to shower, douche, use the bathroom, or change your clothes. In case you want to make a police report these things should be avoided so that evidence can be collected.
  • Go to the nearest emergency room. It is important for you to be seen medically in case you have any injuries. The Women’s Crisis Center has personnel that will come and be with you to see you through this process.

Common Reactions to Sexual Harassment or Assault:

It is common for victims to experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms for a period of time after being harassed or assaulted. Common problems may include some of the following:

  • Changes in appetite and having difficulty sleeping
  • Mood Swings that include sadness and irritability
  • Feelings of shame and humiliation
  • Nightmares and flashbacks (intense memories of the assault)
  • Feelings of Anxiety
  • Constantly feeling tense and being “on guard”
  • Feelings of fear and not feeling safe
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Feeling angry all the time