Sexual harassment must be recognized

Faye Smith

More stories from Faye Smith

During the first week in October, Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood producer of many big name films, was exposed for decades worth of sexual harassment of many celebrities involved with his work. As one allegation after another came to the surface, the number of sexual assault victims who found the courage to expose their perpetrator escalated. This type of behavior is what the world needs to see, that reporting sexual harassment and other misconduct will not go unnoticed.

The National Sexual Violence Research Center reports that 63 percent of sexual assault victims do not report the crime. In addition, 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the crimes. One in five women, and one in 16 men will be sexually harassed on a college campus. As students, we should be aware of the consequences. Going into college campuses, in the future should not mean we should be afraid of sexual assault.

The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault states that there are many reasons survivors do not report the crime, from not having enough evidence, to personal matters most people will never know.

Victims should always feel that they have a voice to their situations. We are told from a young age that if someone touches our “swimsuit area”, or we are uncomfortable about things that are being said to us, we were to tell an adult. Somewhere while growing up, we lost that sense, that people may not listen or believe us.

But, in light of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, the #metoo movement has made its way through social media. This has been a break through for all sexual assault victims around the country, and even the globe. The movement empowers sexual assault victims to use the hashtag, giving them a platform to share their story, that they too have been through a situation that many Americans have been through the same.

This has given many people the courage to expose many sexual harassers, it may not be visible to people in the community, but Hollywood actors, actresses and staff of film productions have made several allegations after many producers and other actors and actresses. As there is a mentality that what happens in Hollywood reflects in the public’s eye, this could be a chance for victims to find their outlet. To find a way to end sexual violence, by simply telling their story, and for someone to listen.

At the end of the day, the state of Kansas is not safe from the horrors of sexual assault. According to a statistical analysis done by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, 24 percent of victims of sexual assault in 2016, were from the ages of 15-19, the second highest total of all age groups. As, high school students, we need to be aware of what is happening around us. We are not sheltered from these crimes. Becoming aware, and speaking out, is the first step to ending sexual assault.