Is Sexual Harassment Getting Worse?

January 23, 2020 | PBAT MAGAZINE

By Yujie Chen, Rubab Gillani, Monica Mercedes & Briseida Palacios 

“Sexual harassment stopped me to achieve my dreams.” This was the words of teenage girl whose name is Hira as she shared her experienced of sexual harassment.  Her words made me wonder what she meant but then she continued that she still can't forget that day when she was being sexually harassed.  She was going home from school, at that time she was only 12 years old, and “a man passed by me and literary touched me which made me uncomfortable and scared.” This incident really affected her mentally because at times she was very little and couldn’t think about what had just happened. She didn't tell anyone, even in her family because then her family will blame her because she was involved in different after school activities and wanted to achieve something in her life. However, from that day on she was so scared and didn’t want to go alone anywhere and she is still not going anywhere because that day is still in her mind. 

Significantly, we interviewed Psychologist Samantha, and she stated that sexual harassment or assault can cause trauma which carries a lot of pain that's the reason people can't move on. And women aren't speaking up and not reporting cases or sexual abuse and harassment, like this teenager girl who never told anyone, and that's one of the reason men are getting more bold and women are facing more harassment.


 

Problem for Teens

A recent Flushing International High School survey, showed that 73% of girls faced sexual harassment and 23% of boys faced sexual harassment. Of those, 52% faces harassment in public, 42% of students face in school and 5.2 % even faced harassment at home. Females between the ages of 18-34 faced more harassment then the people age of 35 and above. 

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Since, they faced harassment at a young age so they prefer to change their lifestyle instead of speaking up against this problem. A lot of people facing sexual harassment yet less percentage of stand up and report this case. According to nsrvc.org statistic shows that only 63% of cases goes without reporting percentage of unreported sexual harassment cases. and According to NY department of education survey shows that only 9% of students reported that the faced sexual harassment. According to Vox.com victims of sexual harassment start changing their routes, job, activities. Additionally, they even stop friendships and went to depression.

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A poster shows school policies about sexual harassment  and

some people to contact in case you face sexual harassment. 


There are some safeguards for students in school. For example , this poster shows that the sexual harassment is discrimInation and if you face sexual harassment you should contact these people because they are their to help us. 

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This picture was taken from FIHS school counselor office Ms. Lu, she helped some students if there are any problems in life, learning or interpersonal communication psychological counseling.


 

According to Lu Zheng, the school counselor and also SHP Liaison said that they handle this situation differently according to how severe and harmful it is.  It's depends on how consistently it's happen or how much it hurts and there are more other factors they have to consider like punishing the offender, if the sexual harassmment happen long time ago, but they make sure that student who saved sexual harassment feel safe in this school.

 

Sexual Harassment in the Professional Setting

Another reason for the widespread sexual harassment is because the applicable laws on this issue are unfair. According to criminal laws, the state can prosecute a crime such as sexual assault however, many states have short statute of limitations. Statute of limitations give you a certain amount of time to report. For example, the crime of committed sexual harassment has a three-year statute of limitations when you are reporting against the organization otherwise you have one year of limit to report.  

“Society is also beginning to learn more about the physical, emotional and psychological effects of sexual violence and why most victims may not be able to report crimes immediately. And this is very unfair to women.”  Dr. Colleen Cullen, a licensed clinical psychologist, notes that for victims of sexual harassment, the most common diagnoses are depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), also among women who experienBased on a random survey of  6-8 people at New York’s Washington Square Park, the respondents all said that we should educate people and spread awareness of the issue. Everyone knows that it's a problem but they are just ignoring. 

A female student of california university said “ We can only stop this problem by educating people because there are a lot of negativity in their mind which they are trying to spread in young generation as well” similar to what author Simone De Beauvoir said in here book “ This world has always belonged to men and still retains the form they have imprinted on it (Simone de Beauvoir, “Independent women”the second sex).

Nevertheless, in workplace workers always have training about sexual harassment, (sexual harassment training).There is sometimes an orientation where workers have to go, get trainging  and get fimiliar with the rules about sexual harasment but we women still facing sexual harassment in the workplcase.

However, there are many other things which is increasing the rate of sexual harassment everyday one reason is unequal position of power for men and women. Women are more targeted at workplace because women aren't in power and men think it okay to harass women because in hispanic women, who is a victim of sexual harassment, said  “it's easy to harass women.”  

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This picture was taken when I was interviewed

Elisa Bartoleschi in history class. 

Elisa Bartoleschi claims that “female co worker feels a little intimidated by their male co worker because men tries to abuse their power” by trying to talk them inappropriately or getting too close to them which made them uncomfortable so that the feel that we men are powerful and have the right to do anything. This problem is getting worse because women aren't speaking and reporting this problem so if they are not reporting then it will be worse and worse because men aren't going to take any action.They think they have more power and that's the reason women aren't speaking up. We know there is one reason why women aren't reporting because “they are scared to lose their jobs, especially when they are reporting against the superior person” said Elisa Bartoleschi.

According to national public radio shows that there are many women who experienced sexual harassment at workplace. They collected some data which shows the percentage of women who faced sexual harassment. Referring to data, shows 77% of women faced verbal and 51% women faced unwelcome sexual touching. "After a sexual assault, 90 percent who experience sexual violence in the immediate aftermath exhibit symptoms of acute stress," says Dr. Helen Wilson.

According to Andrew Maikel FIHS history teacher Believes that Laws are not fair for women especially statue of limitation and government should take away this law because there are a lot of cases which came up too late but the court didn't say anything about it because of statute of limitation. Lastly, the problem persists because the few times women accused powerful men of sexual harassment their claims were ignored by the government and many in the pubic such as President Trump, and Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

 

In conclusion, the problem is getting worse as time passes. Women are facing harassment everyday because we the people are sleeping and not taking any action about it. Women aren't speaking because they aren't able to speak. There are still more other things need to be changed in order to stop this problem. We need to support other women too. If people, men and women are together, support and help each other we might stop sexual harassment.  

El Shaddai Church where we heard the story of the victim

A Brave Woman’s Story 

                          

As part of our investigation we interviewed a victim of sexual abuse. She wanted to remain anonymous. She is a Christian woman. She is married and she works by helping the chef vegetables in a restaurant. She and her husband are associate pastors of the El Shaddai Church.  

Here is the story of the victim:

I was 6 years old in Honduras. I lived with my grandparents and my uncle and my cousins in the same house. I know that I was the most fragile person in the house that my uncle found to abuse. At night I slept in the same bed with my grandmother and my uncle would go over my grandmother get to me bed as I slept next to her. He started touching my legs every night.  He covered my mouth and from there he began to abuse me. He says I cannot tell that he was abusing me. 

If my uncle passed over all the beds which made noise, I always ask myself if my grandmother perhaps always knew that my uncle was abusing me. It is something so tragic that it is very hard to heal from that. My uncle abusing me until  I was 12 years old because by then I could defend myself. I told him, “if you touch me again I will shout.” He told me I do not have the courage. One afternoon my grandfather did not go to work. My uncle took me by force to the room. 

I told him I will never let you touch me again and he laughed out loud and he told me you can't defend yourself. I told myself to test myself, I told him I am no longer the innocent girl to whom you did what you wanted and he touched my leg. I yelled, “Grandfather!” He ran out to where I was and my uncle hid. Later, I told my uncle, “if you touch me again I will tell the whole family what you have been doing to me for many years.” 

Finally, that terrible nightmare ended. I never had the courage to tell my mom because I thought she wasn't going to believe my word, but when I came to the United States three years ago I told her what had happened. My mom told me, “daughter because you never spoke you suffered in silence.” I told her, “Unfortunately, this happened to me, but you are not to blame because you went far to work to give me a better life.”