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Impact & Consequences

Sexual harassment can happen to and be perpetuated by anyone. Its consequences for all parties can be serious. Sexual harassment is prohibited by Human Rights legislation and is not tolerated at Dalhousie. Engaging in sexually harassing behaviours can result in disciplinary action such as that outlined in the Sexual Harassment Policy. This may include, but is not limited to reprimand, relocation, suspension, expulsion or dismissal.

The impact of sexual harassment on the person being harassed is often much greater than one may think. It can impact a person physically, emotionally, economically, socially and can affect one’s career and academic performance or potential. It can also have an impact on the department, school, work site or wider University community.

Physical impacts

  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
  • Change in appetite
  • Headaches
  • Stress-related ailments
  • Stomach ailments
  • Decreased energy

Emotional impacts

  • self-blame, self-doubt, and guilt
  • distress
  • denial
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • fear and anxiety
  • irritability
  • feelings of isolation
  • feelings of intimidation
  • anger
  • restlessness
  • uncertainty over the future
  • loss of ambition

Social impacts

  • Physical or emotional withdrawal from friends, family and co-workers
  • Difficulty interacting with others
  • Limiting of social interactions or self-isolation because one feels unsafe leaving the home or entering the work, study or other space in which the sexual harassment occurred
  • Generalized fears of people or things that remind one of the harassment
  • Alcohol or drug use/abuse

Career and academic impact

  • Reduced productivity
  • Decreased concentration
  • Grades or employment record suffer
  • Dropping out of school
  • Quitting one’s job
  • Threatened or actual loss of job
  • Threatened or actual loss of scholarships

Financial impact

  • Threatened or actual loss of income and/or benefits
  • Threatened or actual loss of promotions or merit increases
  • Threatened or actual loss of research opportunities
  • Threatened or actual loss of recommendations
  • Decrease in future academic or job opportunities (resulting from the above)
  • Decrease in academic standing or professional reputation