Peer Harassment

Group harassment. Some of the most serious forms of peer harassment involve groups. People often do things in groups that they would not do alone. They may be fearful of losing the group's approval if they don't go along. 

Academic harassment. Interrupting others frequently, often with personal or irrelevant remarks. Ridiculing others when they do speak, thus discouraging or intimidating them from participating. 

Joking. Joking is a time-honored way to mask hostility. Many gender-specific jokes cast men or women in a poor light or degrade them. Often, the person being harassed, rather than the harasser, is made to feel at fault for not laughing or protesting that type of humor. 

Pestering and street harassment. Pestering covers a variety of behaviors such as taunting, sending insulting letters, or ridiculing activities involving a specific gender. Street harassment involves whistling, making sexual comments or slurs, issuing sexual invitations, or yelling obscenities. 

 What to Do about Peer Harassment?

  • Do protest organized activities demeaning to others, for example, wet T-shirt contests, male strippers, or pornographic movies used as fund raisers.
  • Do report peer harassment incidents to the Student Judicial Affairs Office (Kendall Hall 110, 898-6897).
  • Do avoid degrading or dangerous sorority or fraternity initiation rites.
  • Don't tell jokes that demean men or women or individuals with a different sexual orientation.
  • Don't condone harassment or collusion. Speak up and protest to individuals and groups who harass. You can also leave an event if you consider it inappropriate. Do whatever you can to create an attitude of non-acceptance of this behavior and of peer harassment in general.
  • Don't drink to excess. Alcohol and drugs are common to some incidents of peer harassment. By reducing people's inhibitions and creating an atmosphere where even hurtful or violent behavior is considered amusing, alcohol can make otherwise unacceptable behavior seem acceptable.
  • Don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable.