Sexual Harassment / Assault
Sexual Harassment or Assault
Sexual harassment and assault can be traumatizing. People who were being sexually harassed or assaulted may feel confused, powerless, shameful, and distressed of varying degrees. They may even blame themselves for what has happened. Given the gravity of the shock, fear, pain, and stress, it is not uncommon that some of their emotional responses and decisions may have delayed or changed over time.
Need for Help
If you have experienced sexual harassment or assault. The most important thing we would like you to know is that it was not your fault. It can be very difficult to talk about the experience. Yet, you deserve support and understanding.
What to do
Nothing is more important than your personal safety. If the incident has just taken place or/and you feel unsafe, call the Police (24 hours) at 999 to seek urgent help. If the incident happens on campus, you can call the Security Control Centre (24 hours) at 3917 2882 for assistance. You may need medical care for evidentiary examination or healthcare advice.
If you are unsure whether you want to report the incident to the Police or the Security Officer, you can consider consulting any of the following units on campus for assistance:
You may want to go with a friend or family member when reporting the case so that they can support you during the process.
Please also refer to Handling Sexual Harassment: A Guide for Staff and Students.
How Counselling Helps
Counsellors at CEDARS-CoPE can support students in understanding and managing the impacts of an incident, be it happened recently or in the past. We help them explore reporting options and access to other available support services. There is no time limit for addressing the experience and students are encouraged to seek help when they are ready, regardless of the elapsed time.
Strategies for self-care
Health-promoting self-care is often a challenge. Yet, it can be an important part of the restorative process. You may consider the followings, if appropriate:
- It is not necessary to talk about the incident all at once. Take your time and do so in a way that you feel comfortable. Some survivors find it helpful to tell a trusted friend.
- If you are uncomfortable with talking about the experience, try drawing or writing things down.
- Focus on what you are feeling rather than the actual details of what happened.
- Physical activity can give you a break from relentless thoughts and improve your mood gradually.
- Eating well and maintaining regular daily routines can help you feel alert, stay focused, and sleep better.
- Try to do the things you have always enjoyed.
- Know your rights and how to get the help you need.
- Give yourself time and space to consider different options before making decisions.
- Medical care is also important, especially through stressful periods when the immune system can be highly taxed.
- Seeking professional help enables you to express your thoughts and feelings in a neutral setting, where you do not feel obliged to protect the listener or be concerned about how the other person is feeling.
- Be patient with yourself. It takes time to move on.
Support services in the community