Sexual harassment of all kinds must stop at Cinco
March 1, 2018
“Sexual harassment and gender-based harassment of a student by an employee, volunteer, or another student are prohibited. Examples of sexual harassment may include, but not be limited to, touching private parts or coercing physical contact that is sexual in nature; sexual advances; jokes or conversations of a sexual nature; and other sexually motivated conduct, communications, or contact. Gender-based harassment includes harassment based on a student’s gender, expression by the student of stereotypical characteristics associated with student’s gender, or the student’s failure to conform to stereotypical behavior related to gender.” -Katy ISD Student Handbook Official Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment
To the Women
Ladies, we have been through a lot and we fought for so much more. The generations of women before us fought day in and day out so we can have the right to work and vote. Now we must fight for our right to feel safe. This past year, hundreds of thousands of strong women took to the internet and started a fire called the #MeToo movement. Leaders in the cause wore black in our honor during the Golden Globes. Victims of sexual harassment and abuse shared their stories and others even accused their abusers. We witnessed the fall of serial abusers like Matt Lauer and Larry Nassar. Although we have won many battles, the war is far from over. A survey of students discovered that 57.86 percent of women at Cinco experienced sexual harassment, and 48.15 percent of that took place on school grounds, property, or at a school sponsored event. There is no quick solution, but we cannot ignore this problem any longer. Women, I am asking you to step out of your comfort zones and bring the fight to the harassers. When you are harassed, report it. If you are afraid, grab a trusted friend and ask them to go with you to an AP office. I can speak from experience when I say you will not be victim shamed by the APs. In fact they treated me with care and love. If you witness harassment, stop it in its tracks by calling a teacher and getting the victim out of that situation. I know what I am asking is hard, but nothing is worse than living in a world where sexual harassment is common practice. Males are not the only harassers, females are also. Girls can force men in uncomfortable situations or threaten their manhood to justify actions. Girls shame each other and promote the blaming of victims. These actions are steps backwards and condescending to anyone who have suffered sexual harassment. Women break silence and stand for one another. Girls harass.
To the Men
Female students are not the only ones who face sexual harassment. 13.67 percent of the male students at this school have personally faced harassment. Out of those who experienced harassment, 63.64 percent happened on school grounds. Male students are not being protected as they should, probably because males are less likely to report sexual harassment than females. It does not make you any less a man if you were sexually harassed. The importance of this cannot be underrated, you are not any less a man if you report personal harassment. The stereotype of the “macho man”- a strong, untouchable man who never cries- is not a role model young men should inspire to be. If men were not meant to cry, they would not have tear ducts. Showing emotion is a beautiful reminder that we are human and we are alive, it is not a sign of weakness but of strength to go against what society defines as a man. Now turning the focus from the harassed, to the harassers. What do you hope to accomplish? What is your end goal when you harass? Fear? Well, we are not afraid anymore. Power? The survivors are taking the power now. Manhood? Harassers are nothing more than boys. Enough to objectifying catcalling, inappropriate locker room talk, and forcing the blame on the victims. The women are your co-heirs to this earth, and we are your partners in life, so remember this when you feel like catcalling and harassing. This generation of females has a magnitude of strong female role models, but young males lack men they can be inspired by. A comedian who should be remembered by the number of laughs he gave will now be remembered by the number of women he drugged. This generation of men must be their own role models. Men break silence and stand for one another. Boys harass.
To the Teachers
A study done by the U.S. Department of Justice states that if a student experiences sexual harassment and does not tell a family member, the student is most likely going to confide in a teacher. A boy became obsessed with me during the eighth grade. He would join all the activities of which I was a member, took pictures of my hair without my consent and make subtle references to inappropriate behavior. I never told a teacher because not one of my teachers took the time out of the day to make sure I knew I was loved and could find refuge in them. Now, I found a support group in my current and past teachers, and they have proven time and time again they have my best interest at heart. Unfortunately, not every student can say the same. I understand teachers have a job and their schedules constantly occupy their time, but your responsibility is to our education and well-being. So I ask teacher and administrators, please be there for us. Teachers, we need you more than you know.
Left to right: 1. Have you experienced sexual harassment? 2. Was it on school grounds? 3. Did you feel safe and/ or comfortable? 4. Is catcalling a compliment?
279 students were interviewed during A Lunch, B Lunch and C Lunch. The lunch tables interviewed were randomly selected using a random number generator online. All people were asked questions one and four, but those who responded “no” to question one were not asked questions two and three.