Sexual harassment includes:
- Unwelcome sexual advances;
- Asking for sexual favors; and
- Other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Some actions may or may not be sexual harassment in different cases, like:
- Remarks or jokes about a person's body that make them feel uncomfortable;
- Displaying naked pictures or sex-related objects;
- Requests for sexual favors;
- Unwanted physical touching, including sexual assault; and
- Quid pro quo (when someone in power says or hints that they will give or take away a job benefit in return for a sexual demand).
Sexual harassment in a workplace or in school can make it hard for an employee or student to do well.
What can I do if I am sexually harassed?
In your workplace
If you are sexually harassed in your workplace, first review and follow the steps outlined in the sexual harassment policy for your workplace. You can also contact your supervisor, or the person in charge of human resources.
If your workplace has no policy in place regarding sexual harassment or refuses to take proper action, you can file a complaint with:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR)
- Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR)
In your school
If you are sexually harassed in your school, first review and follow the steps outlined in your school’s harassment or sexual misconduct policy. This is sometimes known as a Title IX policy.
If your school has no policy in place regarding sexual harassment or refuses to take proper action, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
Sexual assault is any time of sexual contact that is unwanted. This may include:
- Physical force;
- Ignoring a victim's objections;
- Causing the victim to be drunk or on drugs; or
- Taking advantage of the victim being drunk or on drugs and unable to consent.
Examples and warning signs of sexual assault
The following are examples and warning signs of sexual assault:
- Attempted rape;
- Fondling or unwanted touching of genitals, breasts, or buttocks above or under clothes;
- Repeated requests for sexual acts after being told "no";
- Watching private sexual acts without consent; and
- Forcing someone to perform oral sex.
What can I do if I am sexually assaulted?
- Go to a safe place.
- Contact a friend or family member you trust to be with you.
- Contact a local or national rape crisis hotline or services such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673).
- Seek medical attention for possible injuries and/or to complete a medical examination for evidence collection (a rape kit).
- Contact the police to make a police report.
Starting January 1, 2017 police officers must create a written report of all sexual assault and sexual abuse allegations made by the victim, witnesses, or someone else who has the victims consent, if the victim does not want to report the crime directly.
The police have 5 days to pick up any sexual assault evidence from the hospital; if the victim consents to testing the evidence, the evidence materials must be sent to a Crime Laboratory within 10 days. If the victim is an adult and does not consent, the evidence must be stored for 5 years. If the victim is under 18, the evidence must be stored until the victim’s 23rd birthday,
This new law also requires special training for police officers when investigating sexual assault and sexual abuse cases and talking to victims. For more information, see Sexual Assault Incident Procedure Act.
- Knowingly acting in a way towards someone that makes them fear for their safety or suffer emotional distress;
- Knowingly following or surveying someone on at least 2 separate occasions and threatening to harm them or their family member; or
- A pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, or contact.
Examples and warning signs of stalking
The following are examples and warning signs of stalking:
- Following someone;
- Showing up at someone's home without being invited;
- Leaving items for someone that they do not want or expect;
- Waiting for someone at places where they hang out;
- Harassing someone by spreading rumors or information about them; or
- Making threats towards someone or their family.
- Knowingly acting in a way on the internet towards someone that makes them fear for their safety or suffer emotional distress;
- Knowingly on at least 2 separate occasions using electronic communication to harass someone;
- Creating and maintaining a website that has statements harassing someone; or
- Posting unwanted information or spreading rumors about a targeted person on the internet or social media.
Examples and warning signs of cyberstalking
The following are examples and warning signs of cyberstalking:
- Using social networks to track someone;
- Using social networks to repeatedly try to engage someone;
- Repeatedly sending unwanted messages through social networks, emails, or text messages; and
- Posting unwanted images or information about someone without their permission.
What can I do if I am being stalked or cyberstalked?
- Trust your instincts and call 911 or your local police if you feel you are in immediate danger.
- Contact a local or national domestic violence or crime victim hotline, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).
- You may need to file for a stalking no contact order from a judge.
Illegal electronic monitoring
Effective January 1, 2018, it is also against the law to electronically monitor someone without their consent.
Updated: February 2018