Girl Power: Ending Sexual Harassment

By Haley Stone and Nikki Coppola

Recently, women in media and around the country have experienced a burst of confidence prompting them to reveal their personal experiences with sexual harassment. These women come from all walks of life, and each has an individual story that deserves to be heard. Women, including the authors of this article, Haley Stone and Nikki Coppola, feel terribly disgusted with the actions of the accused and believe this to be a serious problem.

This issue has been affecting women in the workplace for ages, however it has been kept behind closed doors until now. With the recent outbreak of accusations of sexual harassment by women in the media, it has been found that “a stunning six in 10 women say they have been victimized,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University polling service.

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English teacher Mrs. Stella Martin believes, “It’s happening again; it was Anita Hill in the 1990’s, who was one of the first woman to come out publicly.” With all these women coming out she thinks “there's this rave happening and I think it’s fantastic. I hope it changes our culture.”

In the world today, everyone has an opinion. No matter what the topic is, there will always be opposers of your argument. With today’s allegations of sexual harassment, there are many who participate in victim shaming.

These folks claim the victims are coming out for: attention, money, following the trend. They  say the victims dressed for this, asked for this, etc. They feel as though the victim should receive no sympathy because of how they portrayed themselves, believing these women are either flat out lying or they simply allowed this to happen to them.

English teacher, Mrs. Angie Furioso, believes victim shaming is “just so common as a female that if you do come forward you are shamed for it and it is turned around on you. It’s kind of like ‘Well what were you wearing?’ ‘What did you do that made him  or cause him to feel like he could make advances on you?’ It’s just part of our culture that women get blamed,” and a sad culture, at that.

These cases in the media have lead many to call upon victims, making them feel like it is their fault and they let this happen. Olympic gymnast, Aly Raisman, recently came out as a victim of sexual misconduct by the Olympic Team Doctor, Larry Nassar.

Raisman’s teammate, Gabby Douglas, immediately took to Twitter calling out victims of sexual abuse. As reported by Business Insider, Douglas said, “It is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and to be classy. Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.” Raisman was quick to fire back on Twitter tweeting, “STOP VICTIM SHAMING. It is because of you that so many survivors live in fear.”

Martin’s thoughts about the appearance of women in the workforce fights against those who participate in victim shaming, “I think if women dress provocatively it’s up to them... but it shouldn’t allow men to take advantage of them.” Women should not be held responsible for actions that men take. Instead, these predators should own up to their actions and suffer the consequences of the crimes they have committed.

Senior Catie Carreiro stated her opinion regarding how women portray themselves, “This isn’t how you portray yourself it’s how men aren’t raised right and don’t have morals.”

In an online Twitter poll, people were asked, “What is the dominant emotion you feel as a result of the recent outbreak of allegations regarding sexual misconduct in the media?” 39 people responded to the poll, with the dominant emotion being disgust. 56% of people felt disgusted, 28% felt disappointed, 13% felt discomfort, and 3% felt sadness.

These accusations leave women feeling all different emotions. Carreiro said she feels “Pissed because men are getting away with this ---. And it’s been hitting for so long and now that it’s just coming out it’s sad because like what the ---.”

The outburst of accusations leaves many thinking about when this type of behavior and these disrespectful actions could come to an end.

Furioso said, “I can’t imagine it coming to an end because I feel like we do have a patriarchal structure in our society and our core values system it seems as though these men in their powerful positions have an added advantage over these females, being able to threaten them with their career if they don’t comply.”

Women now have a sense of bravery to come out and talk about their stories, which has caused others to come out as well. Perhaps this new level of accountability and visibility will turn the tide. Women have to remain hopeful but with the POTUS bragging about sexual assault and a senate candidate accused of sexually assaulting teen girls, there are mixed messages. 

#MeToo has been trending on social media with the recent outbreak of accusations. Martin has a strong opinion about this hashtag, “I think it’s a 'me too' effect… a phenomenon.” Women are now coming together as a pack to stop sexual abuse around the world.

Share your story because every witness and victim matters.

Jenna KellyComment