A topic that no one openly talks about is an ongoing problem almost everywhere we go is sexual harassment.
As college students, we see this happen on campus. Maybe it happened to your roommate, maybe it happened to a stranger, and maybe it even happened to you. Whoever was involved, and wherever it happened, the common thought we think is praying that it will stop after college. We hope that once we get into the real world, sexual harassment will no longer be an ongoing issue for women. Unfortunately, this idea we have will not become a reality.
Let’s start with what we know: the facts.
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, sexual harassment comes with an enormous ‘cost’ and can affect individuals victimized by the harassment for the rest of their lives. Some of the aspects associated with these brutal acts are the negative effects on mental and physical health, reduced opportunities for on-the-job learning and advancement, and forced job change, unemployment, and abandonment of well-playing careers. These so-called ‘costs’ of sexual harassment are all aspects that affect the well-being of a job that an individual holds. The facts are disgusting and are simply stating that, if you are sexually harassed, the probability of you excelling in your workplace with no shame and with no worries, is very unlikely.
To dig even deeper, IFWPR lists a statistic that is astonishing to the culture that surrounds the service industry. 14% of women associated with occupations that involve working for tips (the service/restaurant industry, housekeeping) end up getting sexually assaulted by managers, coworkers and even customers. This statistic also says that as a woman employee in this industry, you are twice as likely to get sexually harassed than women that have different occupations.
You may be thinking, “we are strong, powerful women. Why don’t they build up the courage to leave their jobs?” The simple answer is they can’t. Most of the women who are involved in these jobs rely on tips as their main source of income. Therefore, despite the sexual harassment they frequently experience, they cannot leave due to the continuous income received.
This is just an insight into the background of sexual harassment in the workplace. So why should you be aware? As college women, we are always trying to better our communities. Writing for Her Campus, being in women-only organizations, and excelling in new leadership opportunities are all norms in our current college world. Then, there are societal norms in our college world, one of which is sexual harassment. It is our duty, as a community of women, to fix this ongoing issue.
Sexual harassment should never be normalized; it should be something that is frowned upon. Now that you have background information of what this can do to victims in their future jobs and where it most commonly happens, be the change.
Be the person who stands up to the perpetrator.
Be the person who is not scared of pursuing their dreams, simply because they could be harassed in the future.
Be the person who can destroy this awful event associated with the workplace.
Sexual harassment should not be normalized; maybe we can be the generation to change it.
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