Help in case of sexual harassment

The #metoo debate and the events at ETH and the University of Basel have shown that sexual harassment is omnipresent - also at universities. According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, every second woman has experienced sexual harassment. Men are also affected by sexual harassment, although this issue is an ongoing taboo. The SUB survey of 2017 showed that one in ten students at the University of Bern has experienced behaviour that falls under sexual harassment. The SUB fights all forms of discrimination and is committed to the protection and integrity of all. Individual boundaries must be respected and adhered to.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as any behaviour with a sexual connotation that is perceived by the affected person as unwanted and transgressive. It is important to highlight that sexual harassment is characterized not by the intention of the acting person, but rather by the way the targeted person perceives, receives or feels about this behavior. It can occur in words, gestures or deeds. Sexual harassment often involves the exercise of power and dominance. The sexual dimension comes to the fore because victims are particularly vulnerable in this area. Therefore, it is often difficult for the affected persons to defend themselves. 

What is the SUB doing against sexual harassment?

The SUB takes every report seriously and decides on the further course of action in each individual case. Since we do not have counselling competences in cases of sexual harassment, we have a triage function and provide information about the official contact points. If the person concerned wants us to, we accompany them in this process.

We draw attention to the contact points of the university and the counselling centre of the universities in Bern with various campaigns. On the national day of action against sexual harassment at universities in 2019,  an awareness workshop was organised. "Awareness" describes a concept that deals with problems in connection with disregard for physical, psychological and personal boundaries and even violence in public spaces. Awareness aims to find a way to name discrimination and transgressive behaviour and to actively counteract this behaviour. People who feel affected are supported and accompanied. The concept was implemented at the Women*'s Strike and at the CAMPUS Festival.

What can I do?

Students have various possibilities to defend themselves as targeted persons against sexual harassment or to stand up for affected persons. On the one hand, the SUB wants to support targeted students to take courage and act. On the other hand, the SUB wants to encourage students who observe an incident to pay attention and take action.

Wo kann ich Hilfe holen?

Als Angehörige*r der Uni Bern gibt es im Falle von sexueller Belästigung verschiedene Anlaufstellen. Alle Beratungsstellen bieten kostenlose Beratung und Unterstützung an. Eine Meldung ist wichtig, um ein Zeichen zu setzen und diese Vorfälle sichtbar zu machen. Denn: Jeder Vorfall von sexueller Belästigung ist einer zu viel!

Beratungsstelle der Berner Hochschulen

Die Beratungsstelle der Berner Hochschulen ist die externe Anlaufstelle der Universität Bern für Studierende und Mitarbeitende. Die Ansprechpersonen unterstehen einer absoluten Schweigepflicht und leiten weitere Schritte nur ein, wenn ausdrücklich danach gewünscht wird. Die Beratungsstelle informiert über mögliche Vorgehensweisen und begleiten die Gespräche mit Beteiligten. Die Ansprechperson ist Pia Thormann, Fachpsychologin für Psychotherapie FSP,

Universität Bern

Innerhalb der Universität Bern unterliegen Führungspersonen und die offiziellen internen Anlaufstellen der Handlungspflicht. Das heisst, Vorfälle müssen gemeldet werden und es muss etwas unternommen werden. Für Prävention und Beratungen über das Vorgehen ist unter anderem die Abteilung für die Gleichstellung von Frauen und Männern zuständig.

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