At the University of Oxford, we are working to create a culture of consent. 
Consent is agreeing by choice and having the freedom and capacity to make that choice. A person is free to make a choice if there are no negative consequences (physical, emotional, social) that would happen to them (or they are led to believe would happen to them) if they said no. Capacity is about whether someone is physically and/or mentally able to make a choice, and to understand the consequences of that choice.  
Taking responsibility to ensure that consent is present, is essential for all our relationships – whether sexual or not. 
Definitions can help us understand what certain terms mean and include, and if sexual harassment has been experienced, some people find it gives clarity to self-define what happened to them. However, it is important to know that you do not have to fit your experience into a specific definition to tell us that something has happened. 
The terms below include legal definitions as well as those outlined by the University. 

What is sexual harassment?  

Harassment is a broad term that includes any type of action or violence that uses power, control, intimidation and/or manipulation to harm others. 

If you think you have been impacted by sexual harassment it may be hard to know what to do or how to feel. What happened was not your fault. What you chose to do next is your choice.  
Sexual Harassment 
Sexual harassment can be defined as unwanted verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or any other conduct of a sexual nature, which affects a person's working or learning conditions or creates a hostile, humiliating, degrading and/or intimidating working or studying environment for the recipient(s).  

Sexual harassment can occur in-person, by telephone, online, in writing, and can include, but is not limited to: catcalling, following, making unnecessary and unwanted physical contact, sexual jokes and comments, giving unwelcome personal gifts, leering, derogatory comments, unwelcome comments about a person’s appearance, unwelcome questions about a person’s sex life and/or sexuality, engaging in unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations and flirtation, making somebody feel uncomfortable through displaying or sharing sexual material, image based abuse and upskirting.  
It can range from obvious to subtle behaviour that may not be immediately evident to the person responsible for the behaviour, the recipient, or bystanders / witnesses. Sometimes the impact is not felt or witnessed immediately.  
The term ‘sexual harassment’ captures only some of the possible abuses of power that may occur. 

Sexual Assault 
Sexual assault is a criminal offence. A person commits sexual assault if they intentionally touch another person, the touching is sexual and the person does not consent. It involves all unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature from pinching, embracing, groping and kissing, to stealthing, attempted rape or rape, which involves penetration without consent. Regardless of what the unwanted physical contact entails, the impact on the individual experiencing sexual assault can be significant.  

For the purpose of this article, the intentions of the person causing the harassment is irrelevant. The boundaries and limits of acceptable, appropriate and inclusive behaviour is up to the recipient to decide. A single incident or persistent behaviour can amount to harassment.

When someone has done something of a sexual nature to another person, without their consent, this is harassment. We will endeavour to support you to the best of our abilities. For support options click here.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened