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Myths and Realities about Sexual Harassment

  • Myth: Sexual harassment is harmless – those who object have no sense of humor.
    Reality: Harassment can be humiliating and degrading. It can undermine academic careers and often threatens economic livelihood. No one should have to endure it.
  • Myth: If you ignore sexual harassment, it will go away.
    Reality: No, it won't. Harassers sometimes are repeat offenders who will not stop on their own. Often they are people who genuinely don't know that their behavior is unacceptable. Ignoring harassment may be seen as assent or encouragement.
  • Myth: You invite sexual harassment by the way you dress and behave.
    Reality: Sexual harassment is an illegal assertion and/or display of power expressed in a sexual manner, and is not invited or welcomed by the victim. People who dress or act provacatively, however, may be more likely to receive certain kinds of annoying or harassing attention.
  • Myth: If you are accused of sexual harassment, you will be found guilty. Everyone believes complainants.
    Reality: Every effort is made to observe due process and to assess complaints with fairness to all concerned parties.

Last Updated: 10/22/08