Let’s Talk about Sexual Harassment: An Investigation on Sexual Harassment in the Study Environment at Copenhagen Business School

Sara Louise Muhr, Bontu Guschke, Farhiya Khalid, Kaitlin Busse

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The CBS BiS Platform for Diversity & Difference asked students at Copenhagen Business School about their perceptions of and experiences with sexual harassment in their study environment. 429 students replied to the survey, which consisted of both closed and open field questions. The aim of the study was to understand what behavior students perceive and identify as sexual harassment as well as what behavior students regard as acceptable and normal in their study environment. Additionally, it investigated the experience of CBS students with sexual harassment at their university. The survey can be grouped in five blocks: (1) what defines sexual harassment, (2) perceptions of boundary lines, (3) experiences of sexual harassment, (4) opinions on sexual harassment and (5) responding to sexual harassment. The survey shows that sexual harassment is a present and a considerable problem for the students. Moreover, it shows that it is difficult for individuals to interpret and evaluate their experiences of sexual harassment. The negotiation of what constitutes sexual harassment and what not, where to ‘draw the line’ and how to delineate grey zones is difficult and ongoing. The data further shows, that a great part of behavior, which is perceived as sexual harassment, is nonetheless deemed acceptable or normal behavior in the study environment. This leads to the suggestion that sexual harassment is normalized in the university context. This conclusion is supported by the fact that only a very low number of cases of sexual harassment are being reported. The results therefore call upon further action from all actors within Copenhagen Business School, including management, faculty, staff and students to raise awareness about the issue of sexual harassment and how to respond to it, investigate harassment cases and create better support structures for students who experience sexual harassment in their study environment.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCBS PRME
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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