Human Rights Office: Dear Jen: A Tricky Roommate Situation (November 2003)
My roommate takes pictures of me while I am asleep. He claims it is art, but it still makes me uncomfortable – uncomfortable and aroused. What should I do?
If something your roommate is doing is making you uncomfortable, you should make it clear how you feel about these actions. It is reasonable to expect privacy even while sharing living space with another individual. Taking photos of someone without their consent while they are sleeping is an invasion of that person's privacy. The question of what exactly happens to the photos also begs to be asked: the use of those photos opens up a whole other legal dimension that deals with who “owns” your image:; an individual who intends to use that image publicly must get your consent. If you do ask your roommate to stop, and the actions continue, you should talk to someone you trust, such as a Don or Residence Coordinator, (if you are living in residence) or an advisor at the Human Rights Office.
The other part of your letter suggests that you are aroused by the fact that your roommate takes pictures while you are asleep.nbsp; Exploring your sexuality is healthy, but if you want a healthy roommate relationship you may need to consider whether your present situation could create an emotional attachment that would best be explored as friends and not roommates. Speaking with a counsellor about your feelings may help clarify this situation and help you make a decision about whether you should consider an alternative living arrangement. Counsellors are available through Health, Counselling and Disability at 533-2506. If you live in residences, you may speak to your Don about finding alternative living arrangements.