Sexual harassment in housing is a violation of civil rights. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have joined forces launching a public awareness campaign focused on victim outreach and awareness concerning the existence of sexual harassment in housing. The collaboration between HUD and the DOJ will make it easier for victims to find resources and report any sexual harassment they have endured.
To promote their campaign, the DOJ invited victims to share their stories. They released a 60-second video featuring three women who were injured parties in sexual harassment lawsuits brought by the Department under the Fair Housing Act. In their own words, the women share stories of how they were harassed, and how the harassment impacted their lives.
Stephanie is one of the women who was impacted. Her landlord threatened to evict her if she did not have sex with him. At that time she felt she had no other choice but to do what was requested of her. Stephanie is speaking out, because she wants to prevent what happened to her from ever happening to anyone else, ever again.
Temika is another woman who experienced sexual harassment. She shared that her landlord subjected her to unwanted sexual advances and exposed himself to her. When this occurred, she said that she ran screaming from the unit.
The goal of this campaign is to encourage more victims to come forward and report harassment. It is unfortunate that a campaign like this needs to exist, but there are still many landlords and managers who prey on vulnerable people. Hopefully, the campaign will raise awareness and encourage brave men and women to come forward and share their stories.
John Gore the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division said that the DOJ wants to increase awareness so that people know that they do not “have to choose between a home and the right to freedom from sexual harassment.” The place a person feels safest should be their home. The campaign will let the public know that their help available if they were victims of this behavior.
You can learn more about the Civil Rights Division and the civil rights laws it enforces visit www.justice.gove/crt. If you believe that you are someone who knows has been a victim of sexual harassment in housing you can get help by calling 1-844-380-6178 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by contacting HUD at 1-800-669-9977. If you have any questions about any other forms of housing discrimination you can contact the Department at 1-800-896-7743.
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