“No means No”

Story by Chloe Treat

Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer — these names are just a few of the many well-known men accused of sexual misconduct in, or out, of the workplace.

While all of these men have varying jobs (producer, Senator, actor, and national news anchor), they all hold one thing in common — power.

For years, there has been harassment and assault in the workplace that has gone unnoticed, simply wiped under the rug due to fear and shame. But recently, dozens of accusations have surfaced.

After a crime such as sexual assault, victims are left feeling small, vulnerable, and full of fear. The severity of the attack, and the person that commited the crime can be a major factor in deciding whether or not to come forward. Men of power, such as the names mentioned above, were people whos crimes didn’t come to light for months — some even years.

For these victims, coming forward changes their lives forever. It is important to understand that making accusations, especially towards men in powerful positions, does not benefit these victims. There is no closure, only the hope that it will never happen to anyone else.

Another common misconception is that sexual assault and sexual harassment is something that only happens against women by men, but that is not the case.

Men can be abused by women, or even other men. It is said that about one-in-six men will be sexually assaulted in their lives, a fact that is too often overlooked. Actor Kevin Spacey has been accused of more than a dozen assaults against other men, some even teenagers at the time.

While it might not turn physical, another too-often overlooked problem (and perhaps most prevalent) is sexual harassment. It is something that has possibly happened to your mother, your sister…maybe even you. It happens in schools, in stores, and even on city streets. As a teenage girl, I know I’ve experienced it myself.

Cat-calling, one of the most known examples, is not okay. It might seem to some as if it isn’t a big deal, but for women and girls everywhere, it destroys self-esteem and creates an overwhelming amount of discomfort.

Coming from a female’s point of view: whistling, or calling out, to girls as they walk past, whether it’s because of what they’re wearing or because of how they look, is never a compliment.

As a publication, and as the future leaders of our country, we must take a stand and make a change. Whether it’s speaking up when witnessing this take place, or even just being there for anyone you know that’s gone through these horrific crimes, there are many ways you too, can be an advocate for speaking against sexual assault.  

If there’s anything that you’ve taken away from this, hopefully you realize how far behind our country is in terms of sexual misconduct, and hopefully you do as much as you can to prevent it.

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