Standing Up for Safety

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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.

The news recently has been really upsetting and surprising. As a guy, I really didn’t understand until recently just how widespread the problems of sexual harassment and sexual assault are. Maybe I should have known, but I didn’t. I’m frustrated and embarrassed that it has taken this long, and I’m so impressed with the brave people who have come forward to change the way we talk about this. Now I’m wondering what can be done to make the world a safer and better place for women. What is being done in school and workplaces? What can I do myself?

 

The statistics on sexual harassment and sexual assault are disturbing and overwhelming. One out of every 3 women has been sexually harassed in the workplace. Someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. And college women are three times more likely to be the victims of sexual violence than the female population as a whole.

 

On a statistical level, much of this has been known for a long time. But the brave actions of the women you’ve seen in the news have put faces and names to the statistics, and their willingness to confront aggressors has brought about a new era of consequences for sexual predators–though, of course, there’s still much to be done.

 

Sexual misconduct has been an area of focus in schools and workplaces for some time, of course. Colleges and universities invest significantly in resources to protect students, identify predators, and counsel victims. And issues like this are a big deal in professional environments, say the pros at Training ABC, who produce sexual harassment training videos.

 

Unfortunately, not every university or company has been focusing on these issues for the right reasons–or taking the right steps to fix the problem. Universities have been caught in huge scandals that involved covering up sexual assaults to protect their reputation or that of their highest-profile students. Major companies have been caught sweeping the same sorts of things under the rug.

 

That may be changing. Some people, like you, are awakening to these issues in a new way. Others, who may already have been aware of many of the problems, no longer feel comfortable turning a blind eye. And aggressors themselves can no longer be sure that silence, fear, and permissiveness will protect them.

 

What can you do to amplify these changes? For one thing, you can do what you’re already doing: listening and learning. That’s an important thing, say advocates, and one that has been neglected too long. Be a part of the culture you want to see, and don’t turn a blind eye to the transgressions of friends or acquaintances. Beyond that, consider donating your time or your money to one of the many charities that focus on fighting sexual harassment and assault or supporting survivors of such incidents.

“I always thought maybe things could change for my daughter. I never thought things could change for me.” — Megyn Kelly

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