Sexual harassment still a reality

Ana Ruth Lugo Mejia , Multi-Media Managing Editor

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you have probably heard about Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein a well-known American producer has been accused by numerous women of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

For some reason, it didn’t surprise me. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t condone this kind of behavior. What really stroke a chord for me, was the fact that women still have to fight for basic rights in almost every aspect of life whether it’s at work or in their personal matters.

Sexual harassment or abuse is nothing new. But now women are more outspoken and that is something to be applauded. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 79% of the victims of sexual abuse are women, what’s worst is that many don’t report it or report it years later.

At some point in our lives, we have suffered some sort of sexual harassment.

Because, how many times have you heard someone make a sexist joke?
As I was reading about the topic, sexual harassment is defined as unwanted, unwelcome and rude behavior, like unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual matter. It includes sexually explicit gestures, sexual hints/suggestions, leering or sexist jokes.

It is horrifying to hear and know that even though we live in the 21st century we, women, still have to fight for basic rights and equal treatment at work or any place. Throughout the week I have heard many different opinions on the matter from “some women ask for it” to “it depends on the woman” to “it’s because how they dressed or how they look”, “it’s the type of industry they are part of”. But Emma Thompson, a famous actress, couldn’t have said it better, “What he’s referring to (Weinstein) at the top of the ladder of is a system of harassment and belittling and bullying and interference… this has been part of our world, women’s world.” And she’s right; it is part of our world. Men prey on vulnerable women, on women trying to start a career, and on women who are afraid their careers won’t get anywhere if they don’t do what they are told.

Thompson also offered a solution, that I for one agreed on. We need to start talking about the crisis in masculinity—which is this sort of behavior that has been accepted by a society, this behavior that has been overlooked because “boys will be boys”.

But how can we change a culture, a society, when the leader of this nation has gotten away with sexist and offensive remarks concerning women?
How do we change the fact that white powerful men feel entitled to women? Or really just any powerful men? Who thinks that with money they can get away with it?
Trump, Weinstein, O’Reilly, Cosby…
These are just some of the recent cases but I’m sure there are more out there.

The lesson from this?

There’s still work to do.
Women have to speak up.
Women have to stand up for themselves.
Women have to support other women.
We mustn’t tolerate this kind of behavior because we don’t deserve it.
We are worth it.