No matter how far our country has come in equality rights, many “unequal” incidents still prevail on a day-to-day basis. Rapes, murders, hate crimes and sexual harassment seem to be a part of our nightly news and front pages.
Sexual harassment is very prevalent despite its illegality. While it is hard for me to keep my female bias aside, it’s only obvious to note that a very high majority of the victims are women.
Why are we females subject to such degradation?
I was recently at a bar one night when one of the bartenders repeatedly made extremely sexual connotations towards me and “the twins.” I wasn’t wearing a provocative shirt nor was I inviting any flirtation, yet he proceeded to demand that I expose myself for a free drink. It seems as though females are expected to take the sexual innuendos and perverted lines these days. My only solution was to walk away and leave. The next day, I wrote a complaint letter to the bar – something I’ve never done before – and let them know of the situation.
Thankfully, in my case, this bar was very apologetic and gave me the only satisfaction I felt I could get: the fact that I had made just a bit of difference.
There are millions of cases of sexual harassment every year. While at work, at a bar, walking down the street or even in the comfort of your own home, you can experience unwelcome and obviously inappropriate conduct. In 2005, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 12,679 official reports of sexual harassment within the workplace, with only 14.3 percent of those being filed from men. But think about the amount of those not reported! That number is outstanding.
While sexual harassment does happen to men, the stereotype is that men are generally the instigators. So why do men find it necessary to whistle as you walk past? Or say inappropriate words to you when enjoying yourself at a bar? WHY? I can assure you it’s not a good way to pick up a lady; it’s only degrading her that much more.
There is a way we can make a difference. Even in my case, just by writing that letter informing them what had happened, I felt I had made a difference. No, that bartender wasn’t fired, but hopefully he’ll think twice next time before he decides to demean someone. But if it happens to you, say something! If it’s at a workplace, tell a supervisor. If you’re at a restaurant, write to management. Even the tiniest things you could do will make an impact, I assure you.
In a perfect world, everyone – yes, both men and women – would understand how serious harassing someone really is and it would be stopped. But until then, we all need to take part in ensuring it doesn’t happen to those we care about. We need to learn to take a stand.
Jemma Wilson is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily staff writer.