Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities

What does "Sexual(ised) Discrimination and Violence" mean?

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"Sexualised discrimination and violence" (Sexualisierte  Diskriminierung  und  Gewalt) means every behavior that is directed against the physical and mental integrity of a person and is related to the sexuality of the offender as well as the victim. Sexualised discrimination is not about sexuality in the common sense, but about the force and need for control of the offender. That is why we prefere "sexualised discrimination" instead of "sexual harassment".
Sexualised discrimination and violence is a violation of personal rights and an attack on the dignity of the affected. Sexualised discrimination and violence is mainly directed against women, no matter of which age, appearence, clothing, social origins or religion. This still reflects the hierarchical gender relations in our society.

Sexualised discrimination and violence unfortunately is still often seen as a taboo subject, so that it is difficult for the affected persons to talk about it. Therefore, we would like to encourage all to defend against any form of sexualised discrimination and violence to encourage colleagues / fellow students to support affected women (and men).

Modes of Sexualised discrimination and violence

Sexualised discrimination and violence contains several - often subtle - actions and behavior like for example:
  • degrading sexualised statements or comments about a person or a person's body
  • sexually demeaning gestures or behavior
  • exhibitionism
  • the verbal or pictorial presentation of pornographic or sexist representations
  • the use of pornographic or sexist websites or computer programms
  • inappropriate and unwanted physical contact
  • from physical assault to rape
  • stalking

There is no definition of what is sexualised discrimination and violence. That is why the contact to a person of confidence is the first important step and the next one is the clarification of the case to improve the situation at the unviversity!

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