What to Do if You’ve Been Sexually Harassed by Your Roommate

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What to Do if You’ve Been Sexually Harassed by Your Roommate

Staff Writer · Feb 22, 2010

If you have been sexually harassed by your roommate, what options do you have? What can you do if your name is on the lease as well as the roommate harassing you? There are a number of steps you can take to rectify the situation.

Setting Boundaries

First, it is very important to inform the roommate that his or her behavior is unwanted and unacceptable. Sometimes the person might take you serious and stop the unwanted harassment. Let the person know that you do want anything more than half the rent, and that you request they stop saying inappropriate things and to keep their hands to themselves.

Suggest New Living Situation

If a friendly conversation changes nothing, maybe it is time to think about your separate ways. If your roommate is not on the lease with you, than you can ask that person to move out. Give a set amount of time, usually 30 days. This will ensure the roommate will have enough time to find a place as well as provide time to find a replacement. If you and your roommate are both on the lease, then legally if you are being sexually harassed, you are not legally bound to finish up the lease. By informing your landlord of the situation, and preferably the local sheriff’s office, you may move out without penalty of breaking the lease.

Legal Actions to Take

If you have provided 30 days notice to the roommate, and the harassment starts to become worse, than legal action might the next step. Going to the local sheriff’s office to report all the harassment might be a necessity. By doing so, the sheriff’s office could have the roommate move out sooner. Getting the person out of the rental as soon as possible should be top priority at this point. Take with you any notes or voice messages left by the roommate, the more evidence the better.

Harassment Continues After Roommate Is Gone

If the roommate continues to sexually harass you after he or she leaves, than it is time to file a restraining order. This should only be done if you feel threatened by the roommate. As before, provide documentation to the sheriff’s office. A restraining order can be somewhat difficult to get, but chances are greater for one when more proof is available.

While having a roommate that is sexually harassing you might seem like a never-ending situation, do take note in the fact that you do have rights. You can move out and not get in trouble for breaking the lease early. No one has to put up with sexual harassment, not even from a roommate.

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