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Harassment Training Exercises

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Exercises are a common part of modern sexual harassment training. These activities seek to get people to give thought to things that they do without thinking. Any harassment training activity requires a safe space where people can speak freely so that a real dialogue about the issues in question can be achieved.


Cut out strips of paper, and write down harassment situations on each -- for instance, "An instructor repeatedly calls on the same female student while leaning over her desk and staring at her." Pass them out to pairs of people and have them role-play the situation. Facilitate a discussion over what went wrong in each situation and how it could have been prevented.

Switching Sides

As in the "Role-play" activity, cut out strips of paper. On each, write a gender-specific harassment situations such as a man catcalling a woman as she walks by on the street. Have a man and woman take each scene to act out with the man playing the female role and the woman playing the male role. This activity gives insight into how men and women see each other. Facilitate a discussion on gender stereotyping and how this might lead to harassment.

Four Corners

Put signs up in the four corners of the room that say, "Agree," "Disagree," "Strongly Agree" and "Strongly Disagree." Read aloud statements about harassment -- for instance, "Women who dress provocatively want to be looked at." Instruct people to walk to the corner that best defines their answer. Have the people in each corner discuss their response for a minute, then have a spokesperson explain that group's view. Repeat the process with a new statement.

Team Assessment

Divide participants into groups of five or six. Explain your organization's sexual harassment policy so that each person is familiar with it. Give each group a scenario to discuss. Have them come up with the specific sexual harassment guidelines being infringed upon in the scenario. Groups then should present their ideas on what guidelines were broken and how the situation could be fixed or prevented. The facilitator can score presentations based on how accurate they are.


John Mack Freeman began work in 2009 as a freelance writer with a focus on articles in health and wellness and contemporary arts and entertainment. He has been published through various websites, specializing in health care and craft-related topics. Freeman earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Shorter College.

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