Each of us has a responsibility to create and maintain a welcoming, respectful, and professional environment. You can contribute to the effort to address and eradicate sexual misconduct in all AJS programs and activities in a variety of ways, large and small.
In addition to participating in sexual misconduct workshops and training at your home institution or workplace, you can attend an AJS Title IX Training session, learn about bystander awareness and positive forms of bystander intervention, learn how to help a friend who has experienced sexual misconduct, or apply to join the AJS Office on Sexual Misconduct as an Ombud or a core Office member. Read below or use the navigation links to learn more about these options.
At its annual conference in 2018, the AJS organized a Title IX training session primarily for chairs and directors of Jewish Studies programs, but open to other members on the basis of availability. The AJS will continue to organize such sessions at select future conferences. Advance registration is required and members will be notified of the details of upcoming training sessions and given an opportunity to register. Questions may be directed to the AJS office.
Bystander awareness creates a community of people who step in, speak up and interrupt potential acts of misconduct, bias, aggression, and violence. Examples of bystander awareness include: making sure a friend who is drunk is not harmed, challenging jokes that minimize sexual harassment or violence, creating a distraction to de-escalate a tense situation.
Below are links to a number of videos and articles on bystander intervention.
Bystander intervention for good | Nate Burke | TEDxSchriever
Violence is an epidemic that spreads through communities, but a Green Dot can stop it in its tracks. Nate Burke serves as a Senior Trainer for Green Dot, Etc., providing training, consulting and technical assistance to diverse populations in the domains of power-based personal violence prevention. During the seven years Nate served as a university administrator and instructor, he gained extensive experience working as an on-call crisis responder, a Title IX sexual assault advocate, and a conduct hearing officer. Nate has also served as a certified trainer for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) ally initiatives.
The Power of the Bystander, Katie Zeppieri at TEDxElginSt
Katie Zeppieri is CEO and Founder of Make Your Mark, a social enterprise that provides leadership development training to children and youth. She is a multimedia producer, motivational speaker, youth mentor, humanitarian, and author of the "Culture of Peace" Teacher Resource Manual.
Teaching bystanders to intervene, Tedx talk
Jennifer McCary of Gettysburg College talks about encouraging bystander intervention to prevent violence. Civility, she argues, is an essential decision that must be taken proactively in order to make our communities into safer and happier places.
Brief youtube animation on the three tools of an “upstander” — direct, distract, delegate.
5 Things Men Can Do to Help End Sexual Harassment and Assault, University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Men can become better allies in the fight against systemic violence, sexual harassment and assault by supporting women and promoting awareness among their male peers. This article discusses 5 things men can do help end sexual harassment and assault.
(Adapted from the Sexual Assault Resources page of the University of Washington)
If someone tells you of an experience of sexual bias, harassment, misconduct, or assault, remember that you might be the first person they have told. Your response helps determine whether they feel safe and supported telling others or seeking additional help. They might not know how to identify their experience and may be in the process of sorting out their feelings, but they know something is wrong. The sense that something is wrong is what prompts them to speak.
It takes incredible strength and courage for someone to reveal that they have experienced some form of sexual misconduct. Your friend may need your support now and in the future. Let them choose when they want to talk and how much to share.
(Click here for a study demonstrating the disparity between what individuals imagine they and other reasonable people would do when subjected to sexual harassment, and what they actually do when subjected to sexual harassment.)
Remind your friend that this was not their fault. Let them know that you believe them and be non-judgmental in your approach.
Keep it confidential.
Your friend has chosen to tell you something that may be too difficult or hurtful to reveal to others. Don’t tell anyone without your friend’s permission. If you are worried about your friend, talk to them about the resources that are available to them. The website of the AJS Office on Sexual Misconduct is a helpful guide to resources within and beyond the AJS.
If the incident happened within the context of the AJS, let your friend know about the AJS Office on Sexual Misconduct and tell your friend that they may contact an AJS Ombud for support and information. Your friend may want you to make the initial contact or to be present when they make contact. You can remind your friend that the AJS Ombuds are trained to listen, to point to relevant resources, and to provide information about informal and formal resolution procedures for complaints of sexual misconduct within the AJS.
You can provide options and information, but always let your friend make their own decisions about if, when, and how to respond to the incident. A person who has been subjected to sexual misconduct has been disempowered by another person and it is an important part of their recovery to have control over their own decisions. Instead of taking charge, ask how you can help. Offer to accompany your friend to seek the services that they choose. Support the decisions your friend makes, even if you don’t agree with them. Take your lead from them on how best to help.
Your friend may worry that they will be thought of or treated differently by other people. Let your friend know that that is not the case and that you are there to help them through this.
Learn as much as you can about these issues and about available resources. This will help you better understand your friend’s experiences and the process of recovery.
Be aware of your own reactions and feelings of anger, confusion or hurt. Try to distinguish what you are doing to make yourself feel better from what you are doing to help your friend.
Seek support for yourself. Know how much you can give and when you need help. Your support plays a critical role in your friend’s recovery. Talking to an AJS Ombud about your “supporting role” can help you work through your own feelings and may better enable you to support your friend.
If you are interested in applying to serve on the AJS Office on Sexual Misconduct as an Ombud or as a core Office member, you may contact the OSM chair, the OSM secretary, or the AJS Executive Director, who can assist you with the application process. Preference is given to individuals with relevant prior experience.
Be aware that as a member of the AJS Office on Sexual Misconduct you will be required to: