The paper asks in what ways students in Czech higher education cope with sexual harassment and what strategies they choose to deal with it. It builds on a qualitative study of a higher education institution in Prague. The study reveals that student’s narratives are organized on two planes between which there is a clear discrepancy: on the “hypothetical” plane external strategies of open resistance against sexual harassment predominate; on the second plane involving students’ narratives about dealing with real situations of harassment or deeper considerations of hypothetical cases of harassment, scepticism prevails toward these strategies. In this case internal strategies predominate, together with avoiding the harasser. Active resistance against harassment and challenge to the status quo through coping strategies for sexual harassment are limited by two types of “ideational” and “material”. On the ideational level students often downplay their experience, express fears of secondary victimization and being accused of making false accusations; these responses are tied to a severe power imbalance. The students report the lacking information about the issue and distrust in school management.
Sociologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i., Jilská 1, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
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