Sexual Harassment

  • Catcalls, whistling, rude jokes, vulgar humour, spreading sexual rumours.
  • Touching, unwelcome hugging or kissing, fondling.
  • Displaying pornographic materials, sexual graffiti, sexual exposure like dropping pants and sexual hand gestures signifying sexual activity.
  • Sexual harassment includes verbal, physical and environmental kinds of harassment.

Define Sexual Harassment

  • unwelcome physical contact.
  • unwelcome remarks, compromising invitations or requests.
  • verbal abuse or display of suggestive pictures.
  • leering, whistling, innuendos, jokes or other behaviors or gestures of a sexual nature.
  • demands for sexual favors.
  • stalking.
  • embarrassing, suggestive or threatening language.
  • displays of pornographic materials.
  • behaviour which supports a hostile or poisonous environment.

It helps to let students know what sexual harassment is and what behaviours will not be allowed in school.

 The Calgary Board of Education Administrative Regulation 4027.2 uses this definition to describe behaviours that are sexually harassing.

Flirting vs. Sexual Harassment

Flirting is…

  1. mutual
  2. enjoyable to both parties

Flirting is not sexual harassment if it is mutual. Only unwelcome flirting could become harassing.

A student who is flirting should pay attention to:

  1. Verbal cues of interest or disinterest, such as the other student saying, “No I’m not interested in a date.”
  2. Non-verbal cues of interest or disinterest, such as avoidance or turning away.
  3. Whether the other student might feel demeaned, belittled, or excluded by the comments.

Feeling and impact IMPORTANT

NOT the intention

The feeling and impact of the harassment on the youth who is potentially being bullied is the important variable in deciding whether to address it as a bullying incident. It is important to recognize that what will feel like a bullying behaviour to one student may not amount to bullying for another student. Talk to the student about how the behaviour feels. If a student feels like they have been bullied then the incident should be addressed as a bullying incident.