As we grow older to a more mature age, the words sexual harassment is made more and more prominent in our vocabulary. Many students find themselves asking, what is “sexual harassment?”
“Sexual harassment is sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical or even verbal conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment.” Krystal Preister said, Northeast Community College’s sexual assault advocate
“I’ve been cat called before,” student Anna Johnson said, “basically cat calling is yelling, whistling, and making remarks at someone in a sexual way, trying get their attention.”
“This is something that I have never understood. I don’t know a single person who likes getting unexpectedly pointed out in a crowd.” Johnson said.
Cat calls are typically made at a public meeting or performance, such as the mall, park, pool, or beach.
“Once I was at the beach with my family, and as a female, going to the beach makes me uncomfortable as it is. But what happened this day made it even worse for me.” Johnson said. “I immediately noticed an older man was staring at me, but I hate controversy, so I just tried to ignore it. From here it only got worse because my entire family noticed it also. That’s when I knew it wasn’t only me being paranoid. Eventually my older brother was fed up with the man and asked him to leave or otherwise he would contact authorities. So, the man left, and thank god I was with family members. What a creep.” Johnson said.
Thankfully, Johnson was not harmed in her situation. But what should you do if you, or someone is harmed, or in danger?
“If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you are in a safe place, you can call 911 to report the sexual assault to the police as soon as possible.” Preister said.
The school has multiple ways of helping sexual assault victims. “If the sexual assault happened on campus or the person who harmed you was a student, you can also report it to school authorities for additional support,” Preister explained.
“The school required to help you continue your education. There are options to help you feel safe on campus, such as requesting to change class schedules, changing dorms, or obtaining a no-contact order. Schools that receive federal funding may provide other forms of support, such as counseling or tutoring, if you need it because of a sexual assault on campus.” Preister said.
Northeast takes sexual assault extremely seriously to ensure student of their safety of campus.
“I was in Florida last year on vacation with my family,” student Hannah Borgmann said.
“It felt like every time I left the house someone would yell at me walking down the street or say something while I was eating with my family.” Borgmann said. “I remember specifically one time walking down the street and I was wearing leggings and a t shirt. Two older men driving by cat called me and then three minutes later two younger men did the same thing.”
Johnson added, “They always come back by saying that I shouldn’t be offended and take it as a compliment, but I can’t change the way I feel. I get uncomfortable.”
“I have extremely bad anxiety because of these events that happened to me. Men like that put me into a panic. It happens too much, and it makes it hard to not be afraid of random guys in public.” Borgmann said, “I extremely thankful to have had friends and family to help me through it.
“Be supportive in anyway possible to sexual assault victims. Help the report if they want to report the incident,” Preister said for advice on how to comfort a victim of sexual assault. “Be supportive in their choices to report or not, check on them frequently, help them to seek help, offer to call the free and confidential National Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673.”
Everyone knows sexual assault is a huge problem in colleges, but why is this?
Preister explained that, “Using drugs or drinking too much alcohol can make you unaware of what is happening around you and to you. Students may also feel peer pressure to participate in social activities like drinking, using drugs, going to parties, or engaging in sexual activities that make them uncomfortable.”
“If you, or someone you know is being sexually assaulted, report to the police, go to the hospital if injured and can report to medical personnel, report to your advisor or the Human Resources personnel on campus.” Preister said.
Being sexually assaulted is very common, especially in colleges. Know that you’re never alone and use the resources and tips given to find help if needed.