How to Handle Lecturer Harassment
Harassment is any kind of offensive word or action that is unpleasant and unwelcomed by the other party on the basis of religion, race or sex. While harassment can take different shapes, this article is going to focus on sexual harassment. It is no longer a new thing to hear that some lecturers in higher institutions take delight in taking advantage of their students to satisfy their unbridled passions. These set of people are just some bad eggs spoiling the whole pack. This is not a general rule for lecturers in higher institution as there are a good number of lecturers with self-respect, morals and integrity. Of course, sexual harassment is a wide-spread issue, as it affects high school students, its students in higher institutions, it can affect adult and youth and it does not necessarily have to be a student, even lecturers can get harassed by students. Outside school environments, in workplaces, homes and the likes sexual harassment takes place. It is just that it is being discussed here as it relates to a higher institutional setting. The points and tips discussed below are simply suggested things you can do to help yourself out of being a victim of sexual harassment. You can handle lecturer harassment with these tips:
Check for policy on sexual harassment
You should find out well if the school has a policy on sexual harassment. What is the position of your institution as that is concerned? What steps are you expected to take to report a case of sexual harassment if there is any. When you are able to find this out, then ensure you follow the steps as closely as possible in reporting the case of sexual harassment that you are facing. If the institution seems not to take such cases the way you expect, then should report in a more concerned organisation to take proper action.
Report the case
Do not keep quiet about the matter. Your silence or quietness, not talking about it, can make the situation grow from bad to worse or even seem to mean that you are also enjoying the harassment. Report to the appropriate school authority. If you have a lecturer that you trust within the school who you know has capacity to help handle such a case, then tell such person as fast as possible. Immediately you notice that the thing is what you suspect, that is, harassment, then do not delay reporting. In reporting, you have to be clever and ensure that you take caution. Don’t make a fool of yourself. First, be sure of what you are talking about with evidences, then report to a staff you trust, tell your parents about it and follow the advice these people give you in helping to trash the problem.
You don’t have to
If a lecturer threatens that not giving what he/she is asking for will fetch your failure in his or her course, and that if you want to pass, you should cooperate. Don’t cooperate, you do not have to. It is not wisdom to sleep with a lecturer to earn marks that you deserved in the first place. Report early and do not be taken by any threat. You must make up your mind not to give in. If you have a situation of a carry-over or failure because of that, you can present the case to the appropriate authority with evidences and let them look into it. Do not because of the fear of a lecturer failing you succumb to unhealthy and offensive advances.
Tell him/her to stop
You need to gain the courage to tell the lecturer to stop whatever he/she is doing that makes you feel uncomfortable sexually. In fact, you must avoid places that can aid such things also. Do not honour any suspicious invitation or to remain in the office while you are being harassed, get out of the place. Of course, there are lecturers you respect, and you honour as people you probably look up to or people you simply like and you may need to help them do certain things at some points, that is a different thing entirely. Know exactly how to differentiate the sincere people from the predators and use the right boundaries.
Record the instances
If you discover someone is harassing you and it is getting more serious and probably with threats, you will need as much evidence as possible when you want to report, so ensure you find a clever and smart way of recording their voices and yours, record the advances, what you said and what happened next. These recordings are very important as they will be difficult to deny. If you just go, saying that you are being harassed and all that, without convincing evidence, then you may not be taken seriously and that is if you don’t also create problem for yourself. So, ensure you have convincing evidence before reporting.
You can also write down the instances of the harassments, write them down in detail, be clear about who is involved, where it happened, and the time as well. You need to be able to present your evidences as true, detailed and clear as possible. You should ensure to put the book where you recorded it in a safe place.
You may also want to get friends or colleagues who know about the matter and have probably witnessed it happen to you, or those who have been harassed by the same person, that is if there is and if they will be willing to present their cases too. When you are able to have true witnesses with evidence, then the credibility of your report will be stronger. Of cause, before taking the matter to such a high level, it must be that the harassment is really getting serious and the person concerned is probably threatening or really doing something offensive to the victims. Still, do not wait till things get overboard before taking necessary steps.
Use the right body language
When you are communicating your grievance and how you do not like what the person is doing, you must ensure you use the right body language. Using a body language that is strong and firm will make the other party to know that you really mean what you are saying. Do not act like you do not know what they are trying to do, do not act naïve or just assume that it is normal. If it is getting uncomfortable for you and you are beginning to think it is not normal, then speak to them and tell them you are not for such, say it calmly, with strong confidence even if inside you there is some form of fear or emotion. Don’t let them catch you fearful or attached.
Mention the word ‘harassment’
Sometimes you may need to use the word harassment straight way. Call the action what it is, something like, ‘stop harassing me’. That will show that you know what they are doing and that has shown your position on the matter too. Yes, use clear terms to tell him/her to stop.
Sexual harassment can come in different ways, it could be in form of a verbal harassment where probably you are being called a name that is sexually offensive, it could be in form of visual harassment where the other party is making facial expressions or passes at you that you are not comfortable with, it could also be in form of a physical harassment where you are being touched or rough handled in a way that is sexually offensive and unacceptable to you. Whichever form it might take, be sure to know the difference between just a normal social circumstance and when the situation is no longer normal but getting uncomfortable and offensive. Take proper action and stop things from going from bad to worse.