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This research was funded by generous contributions to the AAUW Educational Foundation Eleanor Roosevelt Fund AAUW of Oregon also provided significant funds to support this research as part of the AAUW Building a Harassment-Free Campus initiative . January, 2006.

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This research was funded by generous contributions to the AAUW Educational Foundation Eleanor Roosevelt Fund AAUW of Oregon also provided significant funds to support this research as part of the AAUW Building a Harassment-Free Campus initiative.

January, 2006

Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment on Campus

A report of the AAUW Educational Foundation



For more than a hundred years, AAUW has prospered by focusing on this simple message — educating girls and women helps individuals, their families, and society. Increasingly, a college education is essential for a woman’s economic security and independence.

AAUW has been at the forefront of

research on sexual harassment for more

than a decade.

AAUW is committed to promoting a

campus climate that is free from

gender bias and sexual harassment

to ensure that all students have an

equal opportunity to excel.

research methodology
Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment on Campus is based on a nationally

representative online survey of 2,036 undergraduate college students, female and male, ages 18 to 24, conducted in May 2005.

The survey was conducted by Harris

Interactive, one of the leading public

opinion companies in the country.

Research Methodology
research methodology1
For the survey, sexual harassment was

defined as “unwanted and unwelcome

sexual behavior that interferes with your life. Sexual harassment is not behaviors that you like or want.”

Student respondents were asked to consider these behaviors only in the context of their college lives, e.g., in class, on campus, or at campus-related events.

Research Methodology
sexual harassment happens all over campus
39% of harassed student say they are harassed

in dorms or student housing

37% say they are harassed outside on

campus grounds

24% say they are harassed in common areas

of campus buildings

20% say they are harassed in classrooms or

lecture halls

Research Findings

Sexual Harassment Happens All Over Campus

Research Findings

Harassers Tend to Think Their Behaviors Are Funny

research findings
79% of college students say their school has a sexual harassment policy in place

60% say that booklets, brochures and other written materials are available on campus

57% say that they would like their school to offer a web-based confidential method for submitting complaints about harassment

Research Findings

Policies and Brochures Are Common, But Not Enough


UCF Campus Climate

Among female respondents 21% worry about SEXUAL HARASSMENT

‘occasionally’ and 4.9% ‘a lot’ which is 10 times greater than male respondents who worry about sexual harassment occasionally (2.9%) and ‘a lot’ (0.49%)

perceived sexual harassment
25% of female students and 36% of

male students said there was no

sexual harassment on campus

53% of female students and 47%

of male students indicated there

was some but not a lot of sexual harassment on campus

21% of females and 17% of males

indicated there was ‘a lot’

Perceived Sexual Harassment
experienced sexual harassment at ucf
67 % of respondents knew a friend

who experienced sexual harassment

60% of respondents were the targets

of sexual harassment

60% was non-physical and 34 %

physical harassment

Experienced Sexual Harassment at UCF
frequent types of non contact sexual harassment
The most frequent type were jokes, comments, gestures and looks experienced

by 60% of females and 47% of males

Being called ‘gay’. ‘lesbian’ or

a homophobic name was reported by 32%

of males and 12% of females

A quarter of both males and females report

being ‘mooned’ or ‘flashed’

Frequent Types of Non-contactSexual Harassment
frequent types of contact sexual harassment
29% of females report being touched or grabbed and or brushed against in a sexual way and experience ALL FORMS

of unwanted contact more frequently than males

21% of males report being brushed against in a sexual way

Frequent Types of ContactSexual Harassment
sexual harassment is upsetting and disruptive
90% or more of female students

indicated that they would be ‘very

upset’ experiencing any type of sexual harassment

Male students varied in frequency

of this response from 64% for being touched to 90% for forced sexual


Sexual Harassment is Upsetting and Disruptive
sexual harassment is upsetting and disruptive1
64% of females and 30% of males

go out of their way to avoid a harasser

One-fourth or more of women who

who have been targets of harassment report trouble sleeping, loss of

appetite, performing poorly in class, find it hard to study and ask someone

to protect them

Sexual Harassment is Upsetting and Disruptive
what do you do if you are harassed
91% of females and 76% of males would report sexual harassment

Females knew more campus resources than males and almost 90% cited Victim Services

Most frequent contacts were with the police, Victim Services and Student Counseling and Student Health

Only 25% of females and 9% of males would tell a friend

What Do You Do If You are Harassed
building a harassment free campus
Provide a confidential website to report incidents

More innovative education-(e.g., plays)

More high profile speakers

More information for new students

Focus on certain campus groups

Let students know there are consequences

Building a Harassment-Free campus


According to students, sexual harassmentis “part of college life” and is “just the way it is.”

Most students do not talk openly or

seriously about sexual harassment.

Yet many – particularly young women – are upset, angry, afraid, or disappointed in their college experience as a result.

College students are shaping lifelong

behaviors and attitudes that they will take

with them into the work force and broader


It is time for a candid and serious dialogue

about campus sexual harassment – by

students, faculty, parents, administrators, and

the collective higher education community.


Taking Action

AAUW has launched a new initiative,

Building a Harassment Free Campus, to

combat campus sexual harassment.

Action projects are underway on eleven

campuses around the country.

A summit on sexual harassment is

scheduled for June 7-10, 2006

Learn more about Drawing the Lineand

what you can do to address sexual

harassment on college campuses at

Dr. Leslie Sue Lieberman, Director

Women’s Research Center, UCF