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  • Sexual harassment, discrimination and violence

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Sexual harassment, discrimination and violence

Bielefeld University's policy states an unequivocal no.

Sexualised discrimination happens verbally, non-verbally and through physical attacks. It also extends to the web and often has far-reaching negative consequences for those affected. All sexualised behaviour and actions that are unwanted and experienced as insulting, intimidating, hostile, humiliating as well as degrading are considered sexualised discrimination and violence according to the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG). In its Policy on sexualised discrimination and violence (SDG), very early on Bielefeld University sent a clear message that sexualised discrimination and violence are prohibited both within the university and in non-university interactions. The policy emphasises the importance of a safe working environment and the clear responsibility the University has to ensure this: it has a duty to prevent the abuse of power and to protect its staff and students as best as possible from sexualised discrimination and violence. All university members should be able to pursue their own academic, career and life aspirations in an atmosphere that is as free of discrimination and sexism as possible. Measures and sanctions, counselling and complaint channels, as well as educational and preventive services on sexualised discrimination and violence are clearly regulated in the university-wide policy. Numerous contact points and services also promote the safety and empowerment of students and staff members.

Emergency contacts:

Counselling services:

Complaints offices for sexual harassment, discrimination and violence:

Shelters and first points of contact in the event of harassment or discriminatory experiences:

Further offers:

What are so-called "pick-up artists"?

So-called "pick-up artists" systematically approach women with the implicit aim of seducing or compelling them to engage in sexual acts. "Pick-up" is based on strategies and "tricks", such as deliberate boundary crossing and targeted degradation, in order to manipulate women. The principle of "no means no" is alien to the pick-up scene. "No" always means "not yet" and is interpreted as a challenge. This is based on an image of gender and women that objectifies women and values them primarily based on attractiveness. The principles of "pick-up" go beyond attempts at self-help for shy young men or rehearsed flirts.

How do so-called "pick-up artists" operate?

  • Approaching women in public spaces (canteens, university halls, campuses, etc.):
  • Usually many women are approached one after the other with the same pick-up line or under the same pretense.
  • Monologuing/intrusive enquiries: Women are asked for their contact details and invited on "dates", sometimes in written form, by handing over small pieces of paper, etc. Refusals are ignored and the women continue to be verbally harassed.
  • Compliments are followed by humiliation: The method is called push & pull. First the woman is shown interest with a friendly compliment and afterwards the compliment is undercut with a cheeky insult. This is meant to create a power imbalance by making the woman feel insecure.
  • Incessant small touches: Physical contact is quickly established, e.g. by touching the arm or somewhere similar. This is intended to simulate intimacy that would otherwise not occur this quickly.
  • Rejection is not accepted: A "no" or "not interested" is not accepted.
  • So-called "pick-up artists" can act alone, but they often operate in small groups and are supported in their approach by a second man.
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