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Sexual Harassment

Isn't as obvious as you may think

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 16:11

Jacqueline Jospeph

Jacqueline Jospeph, political science junior and Women’s Resource Center intern, expresses her thoughts on the sexual harassment women can face in the nightlife setting.

Thanks to a hyper-sexualized media, it’s hard to avoid advertisements where women aren’t used as sex symbols. With sexuality being more openly acknowledged, people are paying more attention to sexual harassment, something that women constantly face. Sexual harassment is an unwelcome remark on a per- son’s physical appearance, and it may happen more often than you think, especially when going out to bars and clubs.

Sometimes the lines between sexual harassment and flirting, especially at a bar, party or club, become blurred. Flirting is very different from harassment because the people involved are mutual about their feelings toward each other. Forms of sexual harassment include inappropriate name-calling and grabbing. The pressure to take a girl home is one of the reasons why sexual harassment persists. Another form of harassment is catcalls on the street, deeply rooted in a culture where few pay attention to the act.

Women have their own way of dealing with unwanted suitors. Sometimes, a woman has friends to help steal her away and to protect from an unwanted advancement. A woman may have been taught some precautions to keep herself safe, such as keeping keys between fingers and being ready to dial 911. Being out at a bar, party, club or any other place is not an excuse to harass someone. Nighttime events end up escalating to harassment because substances put a fake shield of confidence to be okay with harassing someone, or they give a perception of generalized acceptance for taking the harassment, usually by claiming intoxica- tion as an excuse.

Since Loyola is a small campus, students face another dynamic of harassment: They might run into their harasser frequently. A potential problem could be that your harasser is the “good guy” everyone knows. So, the choices are: completely ignoring your harasser, staying quiet and hoping it was a one time in- cident, or speaking up about it. What’s more, we’re no longer limited to being harassed at a physical location; it also happens on the Inter- net. Being on Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets gives more people access to your life. With a harasser having mutual friends, it’s easier for this person to continue harassing. Something you can do when you feel like you are being harassed is to call people out on it. Make affirmative statements letting the harasser know that what is being said or done is making you feel uncomfortable. Avoid saying things like “I feel” or being too nice about it, because anything that could soften the statement you are trying to make may hin- der an impact. In our society, silence is taken for a “yes” rather than a “no,” and vocalizing someone to stop is more effective than getting up and walking away. Ignoring a harasser gets you nowhere. You can get up and leave, but the harasser can follow you or start harassing someone else. Imagine the harasser as a child, constantly asking for or saying something until you give in. Unless you tell the child, “No, it’s not okay to say or do this,” it will persist.

However, I believe in teaching people not to harass rather than teaching people how not to get harassed. If you need to sexually harass someone to get them to pay attention to you, then something needs to change in you.

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