Sexual harassment

Zero Tolerance on Sexual Harassment

The Hidden Marks report, published in March 2010 by the NUS Women’s Campaign, revealed that 68% of women students have experienced sexual harassment while a student at their current institu­tion. Many women students reported experiencing persistent harassment in pubs and club nights, and reported that this kind of behaviour was seen as normal at such an event. 16% of the incidents occurred in a learning environment such as a lecture theatre or library.

The NUS’s definition of sexual harassment is as follows:

The defining characteristics of sexual harassment are that it is unwanted, persistent and of a sexual nature. Examples of unacceptable behaviour include:

  • Unwanted sexual comments (including comments about your body or private life)
  • Unwelcome sexual invitations, innuendoes, and offensive gestures
  • Wolf whistling, catcalling or offensive sexual noises
  • Groping, pinching or smacking of your body, such as your bottom or breasts
  • Having your skirt or top lifted without agreeing
  • Someone exposing their sexual organs to you without consent

WomCam has a commitment to making the University of Cambridge adopt a Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment policy. We will be campaigning to publicly challenge the normalization of sexual harassment, and the CUSU Women’s Officer will support any interested parties in colleges, departments, bars and clubs in Cambridge to train staff members, develop policy and push for change.

Please get in touch if your institution does not have an appropriate policy or procedure for dealing with sexual harassment, by emailing womens@cusu.ac.uk.

College policies

Each college should have its own policy to deal with sexual harassment, or should use the university’s sexual harassment policy. This policy should be easily accessible to all students, but sadly that does not seem to be the case at the moment.

If you would like to access a copy of your college’s sexual harassment policy contact your College Women’s Officer, tutor or the Sabbatical Women’s Officer.

These are examples of college harassment policies:

Note that college policies may change in light of changes to the University policy.

University Policy

The University is in the process of drafting a new policy, to which colleges may refer in future: