How to identify and prevent harassment?

4. Characteristics of harassment in organisational activities

Organisational activities are unique in nature, and certain characteristics typical of organisational activities:

  • Peer culture, voluntary nature, part-time nature, leisure time
    • Responsibilities are shared with volunteers
  • Project nature, fixed terms
    • There are no fixed communities or groups involved in the activities
  • Hobby nature
    • The activities may include games, camps or politics
  • Diverse spheres of operation
    • Employees, persons of trust, volunteers and target groups are all mixed up
  • Diverse forms of contact
    • Social media, digital communities
  • Partying

Due to these distinctive features of organisational activities, certain characteristics are also emphasised in harassment situations. The following are among the issues identified in student organisations:

  • Restricted community
    • The harassers are known, but no one knows how to take action against their behaviour
    • People find it difficult to take action against the inappropriate behaviour of their friends and acquaintances
    • Slander and rumours spread effectively
  • Conversational norms
    • Insensitive ways of talking and racy jokes
    • Touching and commenting veiled in familiarity
  • Party culture
    • The use of intoxicants and harassment done while drunk
    • Inappropriate sitsi songs and heckling at academic dinner parties