It’s summer and I was finishing a late-night shift at a fast-food restaurant. As I clocked out on the register, one of my coworkers came up behind me without saying anything. I felt his hand touch me behind; he stayed there. Neither of us moved for a couple of seconds. He smirked, and then left for the bathroom. I left the store to wait outside for my ride, and tears started to pour from my eyes.
I never told anyone this experience. Until now.
Sexual harassment. It’s almost a taboo topic today because women are too ashamed to talk about it and to be honest, it’s probably even worse for male victims. According to Kent State’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), one in four females and one in six males will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.
“I think a lot of women don’t want to admit it happened to them,” said Sarah Foley, sophomore integrated language arts major. “Women can feel threatened or embarrassed after the assault happens–like they can’t believe it happened to them.”
Sometimes, it’s easier to just forget about it until a lot later.
Some things that I might hear some women say in passing while I’m walking through Tri-Towers, eating at the Student Center or changing at the Recreation and Wellness Center that really alarms me:
“She was soooooo drunk. She was such a slut!”
“I’m pretty sure she enjoyed having sex with him.”
“[Insert name here] was such a whore at that party! I could see her a** the whole time.”
“They’re already dating, so I don’t know why she’s complaining about him having sex with her.”
How do these women even know whether the woman tried to avoid the conflict? They probably don’t. I know a lot of the times it’s easier to just complain and not consider the entire scenario, but with an issue as deep and avoided as rape or assault, it’s slightly different. I stumbled upon the following video last week, and it really inspired me and opened my eyes to all the crude comments people make on the issue of sexual assault.
According to the SARTabout 90 percent of sexual assault cases happen with someone the victim already knows–be it a classmate, acquaintance, coworker, neighbor or intimate partner.
Sheryl Smith, Dean of Student and the Student Ombudsman, said the university offers “extensive services” for women who feel they have been assaulted, raped or harassed.
“We normally recommend people with this issue to go to the Women’s Center, University Health Services or the Kent State Police Department right after it happens,” Smith said.