What is Sexual Harassment?
According to general understanding, sexual harassment can take place regardless of the gender, status group, or professional position of the person affected. It is a one-sided, unwanted sexualised behaviour. It does not have to be intentional or conscious. The decisive factor is therefore not the intention of the person acting, but the concrete effect on the harassed person.
"Sexual harassment begins where generally recognised or signalled boundaries are crossed".
Sexual harassment is legally defined in the General Equal Treatment Act (§ 3 para. 4 AGG) as "...an unwanted, sexually determined behaviour, which includes
- unwanted sexual acts and requests for them,
- sexually explicit physical touching,
- remarks of a sexual nature, and
- unwanted display and visible placement of pornographic images.
which has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the person concerned, in particular where an environment of intimidation, hostility, humiliation, degradation or insult is created...".
Such acts are always out of place and intolerable in the context of the employment relationship.
In any case, they have consequences for the harassing person and may entail consequences under criminal law in addition to those under labour law and disciplinary law.
What can affected persons do?
"Am I assessing the situation correctly? Am I exaggerating? What will people think about me?" Victims are often unsure how to deal with sexual harassment. For fear of misjudging the situation or experiencing disadvantages, they often do not act at all.
It is extremely important not to remain passive, but to take active and self-determined action as quickly as possible.
- In the acute situation, defend yourself immediately and vigorously.
- Make it unmistakably clear that you do not accept the behaviour shown.
- Document each incident promptly and in writing, stating the place, time, and circumstances.
- Do not stay alone! Talk to people you trust.
- Do not be afraid of negative consequences. It is this fear that makes further harassment possible.
- Contact your manager and/or the first points of contact at JMU.
Managers in Responsibility
An attentive and sensitive approach to the issue of sexual harassment is part of the leadership task. As a manager, whether in the field of research, teaching, or administration, you have a duty to counteract sexual harassment of your employees or students and to protect them from it.
If you recognise signs of sexual harassment or if you are taken into confidence by those affected, you must react:
- Take the reports seriously! Talking about it means mustering courage and confidence. Do not trivialise or play down the significance.
- Assure support, but only promise what you can deliver!
- Take a clear stance in dealing with sexual harassment.
- Seek dialogue with the accused person and confront them with the accusations.
If you are not sure what to do in such a situation, please contact the first points of contact immediately, who can give you support and refer you to other specialist services if necessary.
"Heimwegtelefon"- We´ll get you Home Safely!
The Heimwegtelefon is a service where you can call at night if you feel unsafe on your way home. You will then be accompanied home by a volunteer on the phone.
Points of Contact
For the area of studies and teaching:
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Burrichter
Women's Representative at the University of Würzburg
Phone: +49 931 31-85684
University-wide conflict management
Dipl.-Psych. Executive Director of the Conflict Counselling Centre
Marcusstraße 9-11, 97070 Würzburg
Phone.: +49 (0)931 31-82020
More information can be found on the Homepage
For the science support staff
Equal Opportunities Officer at the University of Würzburg
Phone: +49 931 31-82005
Company Medical Service
Phone: +49 931 31-89068
Whoe else can you contact for help?
You can contact the counselling centres listed below and be assured that all your information will be treated confidentially. No action will be taken without your consent! You alone decide what action you wish to take.
Internal contact points
Human Resources Department
Complaints Office of the University of Würzburg
Ottostrasse 16, 97070 Würzburg
Staff Council of the University of Würzburg
Mensa adjoining building, Am Hubland
Phone: +49 931 31 82003
External contact points
Violence against women hotline
Phone: 08000 116 016
Women's Emergency Hotline of the Social Service of Catholic Women
Phone: +49 931 419040
Police Commissioner for Women and Children
Frankfurter Str. 79, 97082 Würzburg
Phone: +49 931/457-1074
Wildwasser e. V.
Neutorstraße 11, 97070 Würzburg
Phone: +49 931 13287
Weisser Ring e.V. Würzburg (city and district)
Branch office management Martin Koch
Seeweg 8, 97204 Höchberg
Phone: +49 931 4070927
Here you can find all important downloads on the topic of sexual harassment and violence against women:
- Informationen zum Hilfetelefon "Gewalt gegen Frauen"
- Hilfetelefon "Gewalt gegen Frauen" mehrsprachig
- Hilfetelefon "Informationen in leichter Sprache"
- Hilfetelefon Gewalt gegen Frauen ukrainisch