ISTSS Logo ISTSS Logo
 
Home > Anti-Harassment Policy

Anti-Harassment Policy

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR TRAUMATIC STRESS STUDIES
ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICY
FOR PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
 
Statement of Policy
 
The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (“ISTSS” or the “Society”) is an international interdisciplinary professional organization that promotes the advancement and exchange of knowledge about traumatic stress. It is committed to the principles of diversity, integrity, civility, inclusivity, and respect in all of its activities in order to create an atmosphere conducive to the exchange of ideas and experiences for the ISTSS community.
 
With a diverse membership from a variety of cultural backgrounds, ISTSS provides a forum for respectful exchange and learning among members with different beliefs, behaviors, and ways of communicating. The Society prioritizes the need to create a professional atmosphere that is inclusive and free from intimidation or discrimination for all and in which all participants are treated with courtesy and respect. As an organization, ISTSS and its members value respectful professional disagreements and critiques to advance diverse viewpoints and are committed to avoiding actions or communications that could reasonably cause another person to feel uncomfortable. The Society recognizes that behavior may have benign intent and yet be perceived as discourteous or disrespectful by another. As such, the leadership encourages ISTSS members to welcome feedback as to whether a given behavior was so perceived and to commit to changing its behavior in response to such feedback. The Society promotes and maintains an atmosphere of openness, respect, dignity, and mutual learning.
 
In pursuit of those ideals, the ISTSS expects all participants in ISTSS-related programs and activities to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, political beliefs or philosophy, disability status, veteran status, or any other classification protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. Harassment undermines the integrity of ISTSS, and any conduct deemed to constitute harassment will not be tolerated.

Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Identity Harassment Defined

Harassment: For purposes of this policy, “harassment” is broadly defined. It includes any behavior that makes someone uncomfortable. It can occur in both public and private places and be carried out by verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, written, electronic, or other means.
Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether conducted by verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, written, electronic, or other means. It includes offensive or humiliating behavior that is related to a person’s sex or sexual orientation, as well as behavior of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, unwelcome, hostile, or offensive professional environment, or one that could reasonably be thought to put sexual conditions on a person’s professional opportunities. A person need not have been physically touched or directly subjected to a sexual advance or innuendo to be considered to have been harassed under this policy. Sexual harassment does not refer to ,sexual behaviors for which there is clear, free, expressed consent. Examples of behaviors constituting sexual harassment are provided in the Appendix.
Identity Harassment. Identity harassment includes unwelcome comments to another person about aspects of their identity, including sex, gender, gender identity, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, national origin, political preference, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, disability status, veteran status, or any other personal characteristic, whether conducted by verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, written, electronic, or other means. Examples of behaviors constituting identity harassment are provided in the Appendix.
ISTSS expects its members and all other participants in its programs and activities (e.g., meeting attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, vendors, and staff) to behave in a manner appropriate for a business environment and free of any harassing behavior. “Programs and activities” include annual or other meetings (e.g., conference programming, scheduled social events, dinner or bar activity) and pre-meeting institutes; ISTSS board, committee, task force meetings, and special interest group meetings; and postings on ISTSS social media, listservs, and the like.

Reporting Obligation
 
An individual who believes that they have been the subject of, or have witnessed, harassment should immediately report the incident to the ISTSS Executive Director. The report may be oral or in writing, although writing is preferred and may be requested during an investigation. The report should include the names of the alleged harasser and the person allegedly harassed (or otherwise identify the parties to the greatest extent possible), the specific harassing conduct alleged, and any witnesses to the alleged harassment. Failure to report harassment promptly and properly may affect ISTSS’s ability to respond to any such harassment.
 
Investigation
 
ISTSS will promptly investigate all reports of harassment. The nature and type of investigation conducted, and the individuals involved in determining the outcome of the investigation, will vary depending on the nature, scope, and severity of the alleged incident(s) of harassment. The investigation may include interviews with individuals alleged to have been involved in, to have witnessed, or to have knowledge of the alleged incident(s) of harassment, as well as requests for written statements from such individuals. Information regarding the report and the individual(s) submitting a report will be kept confidential to the extent reasonably possible. ISTSS cannot, however, guarantee absolute confidentiality as some disclosure may be necessary to conduct an effective investigation and take effective remedial action.  
 
Adverse Action
 
Any individual determined to have violated this policy, as well as anyone making allegations of harassment in bad faith, will be subject to adverse action, including, but not limited to, censure, reporting of the violation to a third-party employer, curtailment or revocation of opportunities to attend or otherwise participate in ISTSS programs and activities, and, with respect to ISTSS members, referral for disciplinary action. ISTSS may take such other remedial measures as appropriate to remedy any harassment it finds.
 
Retaliation Prohibited
 
ISTSS will not retaliate, or tolerate retaliation of any kind, against any member or other participant in ISTSS-related programs or activities who makes a good faith report of harassment or who participates in any way in a harassment investigation. Any individual found to have engaged in such retaliation will be subject to adverse action, including, but not limited to, censure, reporting of the violation to a third-party employer, curtailment or revocation of opportunities to attend or otherwise participate in ISTSS programs and activities, and, with respect to ISTSS members, referral for disciplinary action.
 
Acknowledgement

I acknowledge that I have reviewed this policy and will comply with its terms as a condition of my participation in any ISTSS programs and activities.
 
Print Name: ____________________________________
Signature:   ____________________________________  Date: _________________________
 
Appendix

  1. Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment under this policy include but are not limited to:
    1. Inappropriate physical contact, including unwelcome touching or sexual advances at any time during a professional meeting or ISTSS-related activity.
    2. Persistent and inappropriate personal sexual attention from one colleague to another after the attention has been declined or rejected.
    3. Inappropriate verbal conduct, including lewd or sexually suggestive comments, jokes, innuendoes, or unwelcome comments about an individual’s sexual orientation or gender (e.g., questions and discussions about a particular individual’s sex life; telling a woman she belongs at home or is not suited for a particular job).
    4. Inappropriate written conduct, including letters, notes, or electronic communications, containing comments, words, jokes, or images that are lewd or sexually suggestive or relate, in an unwelcome manner, to an individual’s sexual orientation or gender (e.g., displaying cartoons or posters of a sexual nature; writing sexually suggestive letters or notes).
    5. Sexual assault, sexual exploitation, relationship violence, stalking, and provision of alcohol and/or other drugs for purposes of conduct expressly prohibited by this policy.
    6. Persistent use of inappropriately familiar terms, such as honey, sweetheart, or darling that are likely to cause discomfort.
    7. Behavior that is likely to make another person uncomfortable due to feeling objectified or sexualized. For example, looking a woman over from head to foot; staring at sexual parts of another person’s body; commenting to a person about their physical appearance to the exclusion of scientific relevance appropriate to the context (“Wow, your body really fills out that dress!”).
    8. In general, unwanted comments of a sexual nature.
II.         Examples of conduct that may constitute identity harassment under this policy include but are not limited to: 
  1. Using epithets or slurs
  2. Stereotyping and/or dehumanizing an individual based on identity status
  3. Threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts
  4. Inappropriate verbal conduct, including lewd or sexually suggestive comments, jokes, innuendoes, or unwelcome comments about an individual’s gender identity or expression
  5. Denigrating or disparaging jokes
  6. Displaying or circulating written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group, based on their identity status
  7. Expressing microaggressions - i.e., statements or actions seemingly intended to be benign and non-hostile, but that can be experienced as disrespectful and alienating by others. Examples include making comments to ethnic minority persons, such as, “You are so articulate!” “Were you born here?” or, ”Can I touch your hair?”