Policies

Sexual Harassment Policy

(How does Overcoming Problems plan to prevent and respond to sexual harassment incidents?)

Statement

Overcoming Problems is committed to ensuring that the centre’s educational environment is free from sexual harassment. As an educational facility requiring a safe environment for learning, all sexual behaviour, including seeking consensual relationships is actively discouraged between students and within the centre. Sexual behaviour is not tolerated under any circumstances, and swift disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who breaches this policy.

Objectives

  • Create a safe environment for all students to learn about themselves, therefore social contact between students outside the centre; as well as interaction involving any romantic or sexual overtones, innuendos or potential advances- is not permitted.
  • Communicate appropriate guidelines of personal conduct for all students, which include that issues relating to sexual harassment or privacy will be referred to the Centre’s Committee.
  • Encourage the reporting of behaviour which may breach this policy.
  • Treat all complaints or concerns in a sensitive, fair, timely and confidential manner.
  • Limit any physical contact between students due to many people having illnesses or injuries, with the exception of qualified therapeutic yoga or massage practitioners, with the permission of the Committee.
  • Update and communicate the policy regularly. The centre is on a path of continual improvement to ensure that the environment is a safe place to learn, so that we can be brave in facing our own feelings.

Definition

Sexual harassment is unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature which makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended.

Any unwelcome or unwanted instances of the items below may be considered to be sexual harassment:

  • Repeated invitations to go out after prior refusal
  • Persistent questions, insinuations, innuendo about a person’s privacy.
  • Physical contact of a sexual nature such as touching, kissing, caressing.
  • Sexually explicit conversation.
  • Staring or leering; stalking; flirting
  • Offensive emails, text messages, print material.
  • Exposing genitals or sexual gestures.

What sexual harassment is not

  • Any action which is welcome, reciprocated and consensual is not sexual harassment, however any romantic activity within the centre is not permitted.
  • Therapeutic massage or yoga used for healing purposes sanctioned by the Committee in individual situations. Note: The yoga teacher may need to do some physical corrections when teaching.
  • Contact which is based on comforting someone who is upset.

As the teacher who may often deal with someone who’s upset, Gen Chris Yangchen may make limited physical contact to comfort a student once she has established a trusted student-teacher relationship. If this is the case she will give them a cuddle and may either: put her arm around their shoulders, rub their back between the shoulder blades, use pressure points located on the back, sternum or arm, or take their hand. Students are always able to say no to personal contact.

Circumstances

Sexual harassment can be considered to occur within the context of the Centre when there are classes, retreats, external events, social occasions, working at the retreat house, markets, garage sales, etc.

It is important to note that sexual harassment between students is also unlawful in casual or incidental communication or activities outside of formal centre hours and events.

Complaints process

Because Overcoming Problems is providing an environment which is safe for people to learn about themselves, ALL incidents and issues relating to sexual harassment will be referred to the Centre’s Committee to ensure that no problems persist. Should any incidents have potential legal implications, the matter will be documented and referred to the appropriate authority.