Office of Advising for Sexual Discrimination and Violence for Students
“Human dignity is inviolable”
Article 1 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
Sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence are social realities that people may confront both in their private lives and at the university. Harassment, discrimination, and violence often negatively impact health and job performance. Colloquially, we often speak simply of “sexual harassment.”
Students may be subject to sexual harassment, discrimination, or violence perpetrated by other students, teachers, or other university staff.
Universität Hamburg supports affected students, offering—among other things—confidential advising services.
Students can speak with a neutral person about their experiences—for example, to gain greater clarity about the situation and to begin unburdening themselves. We also provide information about possible courses of action and support you when and if you choose to take further steps (e.g., officially filing a complaint with Universität Hamburg’s complaints office, contacting the police, looking for a therapist, etc.).
What are sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence?
Sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence involve unwanted, degrading, threatening, and/or discriminatory behavior related to a person’s sexuality, gender, or gender identity. They represent a violation of personal rights and an attack on the dignity of the victim. Women and members of the LGBTIQ+ community are particularly frequent targets.
Sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence can be expressed in words, gestures, or actions, such as:
- sex- and gender-based discrimination;
- unwanted comments regarding a person’s appearance or private life;
- sexist remarks and jokes;
- unwanted touching and obtrusiveness;
- stereotypical role attributions and expectations;
- questioning the gender identity or sexual orientation of a person;
- stalking, exhibitionism, or confronting with pornographic material;
- domestic violence; and
- sexual coercion, physical assault, or rape.
Sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence can occur in both private and professional contexts. Generally, this behavior is a matter of power rather than of sexuality. It may involve the exploitation of dependency in relationships, expressed or implied demands for sexual favors in exchange for some benefit, or threats to cause disadvantages in the workplace. Nonetheless, people of all hierarchical levels and status groups may find themselves in such situations.
As a result of sexual harassment, discrimination, or violence, victims can feel impaired both psychologically and physically. They often feel fear, shame, disgust, or anger. Sleep disorders, concentration problems, and depression can be long-term effects. These also often affect the ability to learn and perform.
Sexual discrimination and violence are still taboos, so victims and those in their environment often find it difficult to talk about them. This is why we encourage those who have experienced harassment, discrimination, or violence—as well as their relatives, classmates, and teachers—to seek help and get in touch. Professional counseling can help both the victim and those in their environment to cope with such situations and seek solutions.
Making an appointment
Use the contact form to make an appointment. The form allows for the secure exchange of data. Provide a telephone number at which we can contact you. You can reach the confidential contact for students, Ms. Franziska Wallburg, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the telephone number on the lower right. If no one picks up, you can leave a message on the answering machine. Staff members who have been subject to harassment, discrimination, or violence can find their confidential contacts on the Staff Service Portal.