Stop sexual harassment

STOP sexualized harassment!

Information on dealing with sexualized harassment​
Stop sexual harassment
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The university is unfortunately not a space free of sexualized harassment. The following information is intended to draw attention to this often taboo problem and to make it easier for those affected not to remain alone with their experiences. It is also about sensitizing potential witnesses and enabling support for those affected.

Sexualized harassment at the university

Sexualized harassment also takes place at universities. The university is characterized by numerous relationships of dependency that facilitate sexualized harassment. Harassment is often an expression of structural power superiority, which is particularly evident at the university as a strongly hierarchical institution. This relationship of power and dependency is unilaterally sexualized and maintained and occurs without mutual consent. Sexualized harassment is often linked to the promise of advantages or the threat of disadvantages (for example in supervision or examination situations). But sexualized harassment also occurs among students or between students and tutors or lecturers.

What is sexualized harassment?

Sexualized harassment is any behavior with sexual connotations that is unwanted and perceived as disrespectful, degrading or hurtful. Sexualized harassment can affect all genders (d/w/m) and can be perpetrated by individuals of all genders. However, the vast majority of those affected are women, and the vast majority of perpetrators are men.

Sexualized harassment is diverse, it varies in form and intensity (verbal, non-verbal, physical), e.g.:

  • Intrusive looks/stare
  • Sexist/sexualized jokes
  • Sexual innuendos
  • Catcalling (whistling/calling after, "compliments," etc.)
  • Showing pornographic images
  • Unasked for nude pictures
  • Sexualized signs and gestures
  • Unwanted touching such as kissing, etc.
  • Harassing behavior
  • Exposure
  • Derogatory or sexist remarks about appearance, behavior and private life
  • Discrimination on the basis of gender
  • Criminal offenses such as stalking, sexual assault or rape

Strategies for dealing with sexualized harassment

If I myself have been affected by sexualized harassment:

You are not to blame if you are/were sexually harassed or discriminated against! What you find assaultive, harassing or discriminatory is at your discretion! You didn't misunderstand the "compliment" or "flirtation" if it made you feel/has made you feel uncomfortable! Nobody has the right to hurt you in your personal rights!   You can defend yourself against it!

  • In case of emergency: Call the police (110).
  • Take your own perception seriously: Victims tend to deny their feelings out of fear of rejection or because they are uncomfortable or embarrassed by what has happened. A first important step is therefore to take one's own perception seriously and to realize that a boundary has been crossed.
  • Point out boundaries: Do not ignore what has occurred; this gives the perpetrator:in more power. If possible, act on the situation and use clear words to make your boundaries clear.

"Dr. XY please refrain from these lewd remarks!"

"Prof. XY, I am not interested in a private relationship with you!"

"XY, I forbid myself such touching! It makes me uncomfortable and I want you to stop!"

  • Don't stay alone: Talk to people you trust about what happened and contact the counseling and help centers inside and outside the university. Clarify the further procedure, to what extent interventions are desired, how they are to be carried out or whether legal steps will be taken.
  • Documentation: document assaults in written form with details of what happened, date and time, and keep emails. They may be important for further action.

If I observe sexual harassment:

  • Do not look away: take the perception of the person concerned and what she/he has described seriously under all circumstances. Do not do anything without the consent of the person concerned.

What can I do as a teaching person:

Acute case:

  • Address sexualized harassment.
  • Do not tolerate such behavior.
  • Take affected persons seriously and refer them to the offers of help listed below and to appropriate persons of trust.
  • Offer the person help or a confidential conversation.
  • Document the case and act in close consultation with the person concerned.
  • Talk to the Faculty Equal Opportunity Officer or directly to the Central Equal Opportunity Representative.


  • You should draw attention to the issue in the work environment and make it clear that sexualized violence or harassment will not be tolerated.
  • Draw attention to the consequences in terms of service and labor law.
  • Reject any relativization of sexualized violence and harassment.
  • As a superior, inform your team about the possible specialized contact persons.
  • Be aware of the structures that promote sexualized violence and harassment and prevent abuse of power and competition.
  • Promote respectful and open interaction with each other.

Legal situation

Some interesting legal aspects regarding sexualized violence at the university without any claim to completeness and without guarantee are:

  • There is vague uncertainty about the applicability of the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG): although it applies to universities and prohibits sexualized harassment, it explicitly covers only employees of a university and not explicitly students.
    • Students who are harassed by university employees are not adequately protected.
    • There is no legal framework in the state university laws.
    • It is even more difficult to initiate proceedings in the case of civil servants.
  • According to the penal code, sexualized harassment is punishable, but only if the person concerned has been physically touched (e.g. in the intimate sphere, on the buttocks, breast or kissed on the mouth) § 184i StGB
  • Sexualized harassment without physical touching is only punishable in the case of an insult § 185 StGB
  • Nevertheless, depending on the situation, there are internal measures to prevent the perpetrator from further committing his or her acts: Warning, transfer, dismissal, in serious cases initiation of criminal proceedings.
  • Affected persons enjoy legal protection; they must not suffer any disadvantages as a result of filing a complaint.

Consequences of sexualized harassment

Sexualized harassment can have severe psychological and psychosomatic consequences for those affected. This is particularly true if the assault cannot be repelled immediately.

Sexualized harassment does not occur in a vacuum; it can happen at any time, anywhere and in all social classes. Where perpetrators have a superior position and victims are in a relationship of dependency, or where those affected cannot expect solidarity from their environment, they can have particularly severe consequences, as those affected withdraw from the context of the harassment. This happens out of shame, fear of repeating the act, powerlessness or self-reproach, but also because they fear sanctions. Such withdrawal increases insecurity, restricts the affected person's room for maneuver and thus exacerbates the negative consequences.

Sexual harassment can lead to various consequential problems, such as:

  • Concentration disorders
  • Anxiety, depression
  • Physical complaints
  • Declines in performance

Consulting services and contacts

In cases of sexualized harassment, the Equal Opportunity Office of the Friedrich Schiller University is the appropriate counseling center: reporting form

All types of discrimination or disadvantage at the university can be reported (anonymously, if desired) in the report form of the Diversity Office: reporting form

For women in acute domestic violence situations, the Jena Women's Center can be contacted at any time: Jenaer Frauenhaus e.V. (emergency call: 0177 - 4787 052; Fischergasse 2, 07743 Jena; 036 41 44 98 72). Jenaer Frauenhaus e.V.External link 

Student Council of the University of JenaExternal link, Equal Opportunity Unit

Psycho-social counselling (PSB)External link

Counselling Legal AdviceExternal link

Psychosocial Counselling Studierendenwerk Thüringen. External link

Frauenzentrum TOWANDA Jena e.V. External link

Thüringer Landesantidiskriminierungsstelle (LADS)External link

Federal Anti-Discrimination AgencyExternal link


Helpful/further links:


If you have any questions or uncertainties, please contact us at any time via Reporting form or via

Source: Text from the flyer of the Gender Commission 2013 − adapted and supplemented by the Gender Commission 2022 with regard to individual aspects.