If possible, and if the harassment is not too severe or violent, directly confronting the harassed may be useful. Also, although having protested is not necessary for a claim, it would strongly strengthen a claim.
Some steps to take:
- Do the unexpected: Name the behavior. Whatever he's just done, say it, and be specific.
- Hold the harasser accountable for his actions. Don't make excuses for him; don't pretend it didn't really happen. Take charge of the encounter and let people know what he did. Privacy protects harassers, but visibility undermines them.
- Make honest, direct statements. Speak the truth (no threats, no insults, no obscenities, no appeasing verbal fluff and padding). Be serious, straightforward, and blunt.
- Demand that the harassment stop.
- Make it clear that all women have the right to be free from sexual harassment. Objecting to harassment is a matter of principle.
- Stick to your own agenda. Don't respond to the harasser's excuses or diversionary tactics.
- His behavior is the issue. Say what you have to say, and repeat it if he persists.
- Reinforce your statements with strong, self-respecting body language: eye contact, head up, shoulders back, a strong, serious stance. Don't smile. Timid, submissive body language will undermine your message.
- End the interaction on your own terms, with a strong closing statement: "You heard me. Stop harassing women."
You may also file an internal complaint through the appropriate avenues offered by University policy.
Remember there is no one way that will guarantee the harasser will stop. Individuals must examine their particular situations and handle them according to their particular circumstances. The victim is not responsible for the harassment and did not cause the harasser to initiate inappropriate and/or illegal acts.
Time Limits: There are strict limits on filing grievances with the courts. Generally speaking, in many cases, they need to be filed with 6 months of the date of the incident you are complaining about.
Adapted from the Feminist Majority Foundation web page.