by Harris Yun – Staff Writer
Reading about sexual harassment in the news, it seems so far away. A distant crime that, while horrible, could never happen here at Kentlake – but it can. Even worse, it has.
Sexual harassment is defined as “harassment in a professional or social situation involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.” It is not just limited to inappropriate contact, but even extremely lewd remarks fall under this umbrella of sexual harassment. School is the last place anybody should feel unsafe, but unfortunately, it does happen.
It is so common, in fact, that you probably personally know someone who has been harassed. It is not just limited to women; anybody can be a victim. The thing is, everybody is too scared or ashamed to talk about it – and for good reason.
In today’s high school culture, it is seen as an embarrassment to be sexually harassed. In the commons, you hear students talking about rumors of people being harassed, you see people getting catcalled, and people don’t do anything about it. It’s so ingrained in our society as the normal way of things that people are afraid to ‘make waves’ and come forward with accusations or evidence. And, when they finally work up the nerve to say something, the knee jerk reaction some people have is to get angry about them coming forward, accusing the victims of seeking attention.
To truly fight this growing tide of sexual harassment, we need to foster a safer environment. We need to reduce the stigma of being harassed. A victim is not less of a person for being a victim. Kentlake should be a place where anyone can talk about sensitive subjects without being a target of ridicule.