How to Help a Student Being Harassed in CollegeJanuary 20, 2023
According to a recent survey, 67% of college students have experienced harassment, and 61% of college students have witnessed other students being harassed on campus. Harassment is a term that covers any unwanted or non-consensual attention, whether it is online, physical, verbal, or emotional.
While the intensity and exact nature of the harassment may differ, it must be recognized, reported, and dealt with accordingly. If you know anyone who has been harassed on your campus, here are some guidelines to support them.
- Believe them – Tell them you believe what they’re saying and will help them in any way you can. Listen to their story and don’t judge them, regardless of the circumstances.
- Assure them that they are not at fault for whatever happened – Blaming oneself is very common, especially for those who have been sexually harassed. It is immensely crucial that you help them understand that they are not in any way to blame for what someone else chose to do to them.
- Validate their feelings – Remain sympathetic, but don’t allow your emotions to get in the way of helping them process their feelings. It is normal to be angry with the harasser, but what the victim needs most is caring and calm support. You should likewise keep in mind that each harassment incident is unique, so avoid making comparisons.
- Inform them about their options – If they are not aware of your school’s harassment policy, show them. Remember that everyone has the right to report any kind of harassment on campus. Certain people, such as teachers, coaches, guards, and other school staff, are legally required to report or intervene if they witness or hear about harassment, bullying, intimidation, or discrimination. You should also know that you could file a harassment complaint anonymously or on behalf of another person.
- Let them know they are in control of the situation – Let them decide what their next steps should be. You should only offer support, advice, information, and guidance about the options available to them, but let them decide what to do moving forward. If they are hesitant to report the harassment or seek help, offer to go with them to counseling, seek medical attention, or talk to a trusted teacher, the police, or a lawyer.
- Respect their privacy – Never share what happened to them with others unless they say so. On the other hand, do not hesitate to ask for advice from people who might be able to help with the situation. You do not need to give out names or details about the incident to get advice.
Consult With a Skilled CA Harassment Lawyer Today
Numerous colleges all across the country have faced criticisms of their inadequate handling of harassment cases, but the problem still continues. Some harassment incidents go unreported, while others are glossed over because schools are wary of the possibility of a scandal tarnishing their name. Social stigma and doubt that reports will be investigated may prevent students from reporting harassment.
If you or anyone you know has experienced harassment in school, the CA harassment lawyers at Bamieh & De Smeth provide free and confidential initial consultations, so you can learn more about your options. Call 805-643-5555 or reach us online to schedule your appointment with a CA harassment lawyer.