Sexual harassment and sexualized violence are problems, largely taboo and often underestimated, across all areas of society. Empirical research has shown that women are the primary victims. In a 2004 study by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSJF), more than one-half of the 10,000 women surveyed stated that they had experienced physical or sexual violence at least once since the age of 16.  Men experience sexualized violence as well.  In general, however, it is evident that the victims of sexualized violence are more often women, and the perpetrators are more often men.
Higher education institutions, as workplaces and centers of learning, are unfortunately no exception to this rule. Sexual harassment and sexualized violence are a particular problem for students, doctoral candidates, apprentices and trainees, as they have few options for defending themselves due to the relationships of dependency and hierarchical disparities that often exist in education situations. Employees and professors can also be affected by sexual assault.
Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences is aware of its social responsibility as a center of learning and an employer. In cooperation with Frauenberatungsstelle Osnabrück and coordinated by Equal Opportunity Office (Gleichstellungsbüro), the university offers the following options to help those dealing with sexual harassment and sexualized violence:
- Counseling in case of sexual harassment and sexualized violence for all persons affiliated with the university (regardless of gender)
- Raising awareness among all status groups at the university through candid continuing education seminars designed for specific target groups
- Coaching/organizational counseling for affected organizational units and managers there
- Development of guidelines for handling sexual harassment and sexualized violence at Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences
The pages that follow provide further information on the support options offered.
 “Lebenssituation, Sicherheit und Gesundheit von Frauen in Deutschland.” A study by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, 2004, available online (in German) at http://www.bmfsfj.de/BMFSFJ/Service/Publikationen/publikationen,did=20560.html
 “Gewalt gegen Männer. Personale Gewaltwiderfahrnisse von Männern in Deutschland.” A study by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, 2005, available online (in German) at http://www.bmfsfj.de/BMFSFJ/Service/Publikationen/publikationsliste,did=20558.html