Harassment Complaints

Taken fom Managing Liability, Business and Academic Operations; United Educators, 2008.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault during study abroad programs can range from unwelcome touching or inappropriate sexual misconduct by strangers on the streets of a foreign city to date rape, sexual harassment, or assault committed by other students, host family members, faculty members, staff members, or others.

In the event of a complaint of sexual harassment, program faculty should immediately notify the Director of International Programs.  Faculty should also be prepared to respond to allegations of sexual assault.  Before their departure and before an assault occurs, faculty and staff leaders should become familiar with the Institute's policies and procedures for responding to such allegations.  Also educate students during orientation sessions and throughout the trip on how to avoid a sexual assault.  Students need to know that drugs and alcohol are often factors in cases of sexual assault and that the perpetrator can be a stranger or someone the student knows.

Specific strategies students should be encouraged to follow to reduce the risk of sexual assault include:

  • Avoid overindulging in alcohol and becoming impaired.
  • Keep your eyes on your drinks while at parties, clubs, bars, or pubs to ensure that substances are not slipped into them.
  • Use a buddy system to the extent practicable when out at night.
  • Avoid leaving restaurants, bars, or nightclubs with strangers and do not get into vehicles with people you do not know.
  • Don't be too quick to trust people you have just met or don't know well.
  • Know the local culture as well as areas and behaviors to avoid in order to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim.
  • Know the institution's policies on sexual harassment and sexual assault.
  • Immediately report any problems to program faculty or staff leaders or a designated campus contact.