Safety and Wellbeing Sexual Harassment & Sexual Assault What is Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

What is Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, and where that reaction is reasonable in the circumstances.

Sexual harassment is unlawful when it falls within the relevant statutory definition under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) and/or the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). Indecent exposure and stalking are criminal behaviours.

Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Displays of sexually graphic materials including posters, cartoons or messages left on noticeboards, desks or common areas
  • Repeated invitations to develop a closer or intimate relationship after prior refusal
  • Unwelcome and uncalled for remarks or insinuations about a person's sex or private life
  • Comments of a sexually suggestive nature about a person's appearance or body
  • Sexually offensive phone calls
  • Offensive emails and text messages of a sexual nature
  • Unwanted sexual attention using internet, social networking sites and mobile phones
  • Sexually offensive screensavers or posters
  • A publication, such as sexually offensive emails or graphics
  • Threats online of a sexual nature
  • Revenge porn
  • Sexual propositions
  • Indecent exposure
  • Stalking
  • Pressuring a student or staff member to engage in sexual behaviour for some educational or employment benefit, or
  • Making a real or perceived threat that rejecting sexual behaviour will carry a negative consequence for the student in education, accommodation, or University programme or activity.

What is not sexual harassment:

Sexual harassment is not interaction, flirtation or friendship which is mutual of consensual.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any unwanted or forced sexual activity without a person's consent.

Assault occurs when a person:

  • Touches another person inappropriately without their consent – groping is a form of sexual assault
  • Forces another person against their will to commit an act of gross indecency – a sexual act that does not involve penetration, for example a person forces another person to touch their genitals
  • Forces another person to see an act of gross indecency, for example the person masturbates in front of the other person.

Rape is the most serious form of sexual assault – forcing someone to have sexual intercourse without his or her consent. Rape includes forcing someone to perform oral sex, digital penetration, and inserting any object into the vulva, vagina or anus of another person without their consent.