Have you experienced inappropriate sexual behaviour as a victim or a witness and are not sure how to handle the whole situation?You can contact us at the email address . What will happen afterwards?
In general, such behaviour can be defined as inappropriate and unwelcome behaviour with a sexual undertone, the essence of which is (similar to other types of harassment) an effort to gain, increase, or confirm one’s superiority over another person.
Gender-based violence includes all acts of physical, sexual, psychological, economic, or other forms of violence that target women because they happen to be women or men because they happen to be men or acts of violence that disproportionately affect women or men.
Sexual violence is an attempt to gain, increase, or confirm one’s superiority over another person using sexuality as a tool of power. This includes, for example, unwelcome sexual attention or sexual blackmail and coercion.
In other words, this is inappropriate and unsolicited behaviour with sexual undertones, whether verbal, non-verbal, or physical. On a university campus, this can occur between students, between teachers, teachers towards students or students towards teachers, and among members of staff.
This may involve the following in particular:
Offering benefits for intimate contact or, on the contrary, threatening someone if they refuse (e.g. credits, exams or good grades, promotions, financial rewards, or other benefits),
Sharing intimate photos,
Various forms of psychological pressure, such as different treatment based on gender,
Materials depicting persons as sexual objects,
Exhibiting and distributing pornographic materials,
Inappropriate comments relating to a person’s body and appearance,
Humiliating or embarrassing remarks,
Attention in the form of harassing e-mails,
Expressing an offensive, hostile, and degrading stance towards a certain gender,
Cursing, mocking, and gestures with sexual undertones,
Bullying and threatening and hostile behaviour,
Offensive, unwanted, and unrequited verbal and non-verbal behaviour,
All of these circumstances can create an unpleasant academic or work environment and atmosphere between students and teachers or employees and superiors, or between students or employees. They can take place during class and outside class during consultations, internships, or various excursions outside the school premises. In the case of employees, this can happen during working hours, at the workplace, but also in other circumstances.
You can contact us at the email address . What will happen afterwards?
What happens next depends only on you. Blanka Štefaničová, who is the only person with access to the above-mentioned e-mail address, has the authority to advise you only and will not take any further steps without your consent. In addition, she will not give your name or other information that could disclose your identity to any other person without your consent. Faculties and other units of the university have executive power.
Usually within two business days after receiving the notification, a reply is delivered to the sender’s e-mail address with a request for any additional steps the notifying party wishes to take or another adequate response depending on the content of the message. Blanka Štefaničová, as the recipient of the notification, may not currently or in the past be in any personal formal or informal relationship with the person making the notification or with the person the notification is about. If you are aware of this fact, please contact the head of CU Point. If you do not know about this relationship and it exists, Blanka Štefaničová will inform you of this fact and suggest that your notification be forwarded to the head of CU Point. After agreeing with you, this person will appoint another independent person for dealing with this notification. All persons involved in resolving the notification are obliged to uphold confidentiality, which is also contractually stipulated.
According to their answer, the notifying party will then be sent an e-mail with a proposal for a meeting. With the notifying party’s consent, Blanka Štefaničová and possibly another independent expert will attend the meeting. The subject matter of the meeting will be discussing the situation and possible further action, etc. The notifying party will be offered psychological support and assistance. The case can also be consulted anonymously with relevant experts (a lawyer, a sexual harassment expert, a psychologist). The reason for this consultation session is to find out the specific form of the reported behaviour and to evaluate the situation.
If the notifying party does not want to discuss the situation further, the notification will no longer be processed in any way, and it will be logged anonymously for statistical purposes only. No specific data will be recorded. If the notifying party so wishes, the person against whom the notification was filed will be notified of this fact and informed of the inappropriateness of their behaviour, while upholding the notifying party’s anonymity. CU Point can also get in touch with other responsible people (always after agreeing with the notifying party) in order to take additional steps, e.g. the ombudsman.
During the entire process of resolving the situation, we take the notification very seriously, try to proceed a sensitive manner, and uphold confidentiality and discretion so that the author of the notification is not harmed in the future. If necessary, we will ensure the safety of both parties.
The authority of the CU Point employee is only in the form of advice and recommendations. They may provide support, refer you to counselling services, or assist you in another manner. They are required to uphold confidentiality.
Anonymous notifications are dealt with in the scope of their disclosure.
First of all, you must understand that such behaviour is unacceptable, and it is necessary to protect yourself against such behaviour. Tolerating such behaviour or blaming yourself, quitting a course, or abandoning your studies completely or resigning from your position as an employee will not help the situation.
If you are not sure whether you are the object of sexual harassment or whether you witnessed the harassment of someone else, you can contact the counselling service (CU psychological/legal counselling) or an external non-profit organization. The service is also available to those who have been accused of harassment.
➢ Within CU Point, you can contact independent experts who will try as much as possible to help you solve this problem via the e-mail address . Only one person has access to this e-mail address – Mgr. Blanka Štefaničová.
How do we react? This always depends on the notifying person, whether they want to resolve the case officially, need assistance, or just want to report inappropriate behaviour. No other person will learn about the notification without your consent. We guarantee anonymity. This is an informational e-mail, and no further steps will be taken without your permission. All suggestions will be treated seriously and confidentially.
➢ If you would like to resolve the situation yourself, we recommend that you start by writing an e-mail or other message to the person concerned stating that you are troubled by their behaviour and that you find it inappropriate and intolerable. The message should state what specifically bothers you and why and a suggestion for the next course of action. If nothing happens, you can come to us and we can handle the next steps together.
➢ Some faculties have an ombudsman (these faculties are: the 2nd Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Pharmacy, and the Faculty of Law). You can contact the ombudsman directly. It is also possible to contact the dean, who can initiate disciplinary proceedings (in the case of being harassed by a student), or in serious cases, the Czech Police. The initiative can also be submitted to the Ethics Committee (if an employee is harassing you). The committee will respond to all substantively discussed submissions in writing, usually within a period of nine months.
If it is demonstrated that the notifying party was aware that their complaint was unjustified, the harassment allegation may be considered harassment itself or harmful and may result in disciplinary action being taken against them. No action will be taken if a complaint found to be unjustified is deemed to have been made in good faith.
Thank you for not being indifferent to your surroundings. We can propose the following steps depending on the situation:
Ask the person you consider a victim if they feel comfortable in the situation or if they need your assistance.
Express disagreement. It is often difficult for the victim to understand that they are being harassed. Hence, it might be good if you explain the situation yourself, even if you feel that it does not concern you personally. You are indicating to those persons that they are not alone in defending their rights.
If it is difficult to discuss at the moment, ask at a later time and offer your assistance if you feel it is appropriate to do so.
Advise the person to contact . If you have any doubts or questions, you can contact us directly yourself or the Carolina Centre’s counselling service
If someone confides in you that they feel harmed by sexual or gender-based harassment, you can:
Reassure the person that you believe them and that you appreciate the trust they have shown.
Reassure the person that what happened is not their fault.
Think about the fact that everyone reacts differently (rationally or irrationally).
Ask the person in question if they want help resolving the situation and possibly contact us.
Don’t ask too much. Some people may find it helpful to talk about their experience, but others may find it traumatic to share the details.
Let the person choose for themselves. There is no obligation to report the situation or resolve it in any way. It may be good to formulate your sentences as an offer.
Seek help for yourself if the whole process is difficult for you, e.g. contact CU Point’s counselling services
If the harassed person requests an investigation, let them contact us themselves. If you do not want this or if you want advice on the next steps, please contact the counselling service of the Carolina Centre or the Carolina Centre directly. Do not do anything against the will of the person who has confided in you.
Charles University places great emphasis on the prevention of negative phenomena and a safe environment for everyone. It does not accept any form of sexual and gender-based harassment and violence (often simply referred to as sexual harassment) and expects all individuals from the university community, its visitors, and contractual partners to treat each other with respect and consideration.
Charles University strives for a working, educational, and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all members of the university community are respected.
Charles University’s goals in this area are:
To promote a safe environment in which people are treated fairly and with respect;
To declare that harassment is unacceptable and that everyone who is part of the university is involved in creating an environment free of any form of harassment;
To provide support to students and staff members who feel harassed;
To provide a clearly defined mechanism through which complaints can be resolved
Every employee and every student has the right to expect professional behaviour from others and is also responsible for their own behaviour towards others. Thus, everyone has a personal responsibility to comply with the following rules and principles:
Treat others with respect,
Do not tolerate any form of harassment and, if witnessed, point out the unacceptable behaviour,
Support anyone who feels they have been a victim of harassment, including connections to external assistance and psychological support to make a formal complaint, if needed.
Ombudsman at some faculties – (2nd Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Law)
Consultation at the Carolina Centre (arranged in advance) with Mgr. Blanka Štefaničová ( )
Comprehensive information at the European level on gender-based violence can be found here:
Organizations dealing with this topic:
Konsent – deals with the issue of sexual violence and prevention
Persefona – resolves the issue of domestic and sexual violence, including assistance to its victims
Bílý kruh bezpečí – helps victims of crimes, including sexual violence
proFem – helps victims of sexual violence, educational events
Rosa centre – helps women – victims of domestic violence
Iniciativa nahlas – a student initiative at Charles University dealing with the problem of sexual violence
Who is Blanka Štefaničová?
Blanka has a degree in Gender Studies at the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University. She has been interested in the prevention of sexual harassment and equal opportunities for a long time. She cooperates with the association Konsent and the Association of University Counsellors, and continues her education. She participated in international conferences on the issue of sexual harassment and lectured on this issue at the national conference on university counselling. She also has several years of experience as a coordinator of gender equality at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. At CU Point, she works in the Carolina Centre, and in addition to the prevention of sexual harassment and the aforementioned e-mail box , she is also in charge of support for socioeconomically disadvantaged students and parents who are studying.
For further information please contact:
Mgr. Blanka Štefaničová
tel.: 224 491 759
Mgr. Šárka Vohlídalová
tel.: 224 491 896, 778 750 048
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