1101-391 Language and Identity.

Sonia Aktar

October 31st 2018

Dr. Carrie Hall

English 1101

“Why Don’t You Get It?”

What does “sexual harassment” mean to you? Do you understand how it feels to be sexually harassed? In today’s world we constantly hear about individuals that claim they were victims of sexual assault. Maybe you went through something like it, but you don’t tell people about it. It has become so common that we have responses coming from all around the world, either it’s negative responses or positive. We often don’t understand how someone feels going through it. In fact, we end up questioning them.

Sexual harassment has existed since the beginning of time. From when there were slaves. African American slaves used to get harassed by their owners. There was no legal laws to protect them. It wasn’t recognized in the United States until recently. It has only been illegal in the United States  since the 1964 Civil Rights act. The first sexual harassment cases were not bought until the 1970s. The Supreme Court did not consider the issue until the 1980s. Many laws came after to protect people from sexual discrimination at work, school, etc.

Women have been coming out and telling what happened with them or what they witnessed. We only know about it because these allegations are against our government officials.. Not paying attention to these people speaking out can only affects our government systems and having the wrong people in power. If we ignore it, then people think it’s right for something like this to happen. Recently, President Donald Trump has nominated  judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. Before the nomination, a women contacted the Washington Post with allegations of sexual misconduct against him back in high school. Two other women also accused him. He denied these allegations, but there were many evidence that proves what these women were saying. These women were given the chance to tell the story, but people questioned, “Why are you coming out to tell your story now?” or “Why didn’t you do anything about it when it happened?”. My response to that is, “Do you really understand what it’s like to go through that?!”. Maybe not! It might be that you never went through it, but it’s not right to ask a question like that? People think these women come out to with “stories” just to get attention and fame. They don’t get that it takes so much courage to talk about something like sexual harassment in public where the whole world will know about it. These women have explained why they chose to speak out now, people still don’t seem to understand. FBI did go on with the investigation, but he was still nominated. It wasn’t worth it for these women to speak out because they didn’t want to tell the world, and they did not succeed in what they wanted as a response.

What about catcalling? Isn’t that something almost all women go through once in life. It is just so common and there is no law for that. It happens all the time. When someone says, “Look at that beautiful ass”. How does that feel. It definitely isn’t worse than being touched, but it isn’t any different. You know how ugly and bad it feels to be catcalled, imagine being sexually harassed or raped. We still forget that and question people who have gone through so much instead of understanding them and being supportive. How can we not understand how it feels? Sometimes I just think to myself that if the person who is harassing you or catcalling you, would understand how you feel than they most likely wouldn’t do it. If people put themselves in the shoes of the victim, they would better understand. People just care about what they feel. Only someone who went through the same or similar understands you. The rest just either don’t understand or don’t care. Fortunately, I have never experienced anything like that, but I can still understand what it’s like to go through something like that. People become mentally unstable and unhealthy. However, I have experienced how it feels like to be catcalled. Catcalling is so common and it’s not something people talk about. It’s just not considered something that is a big problem because it doesn’t harm anyone, but it can lead to different consequences. It’s not always important do do something about it, sometimes we just need to understand things.

On the other hand, many people have been supporting these people who faced sexual harassment and are speaking out. “It takes a lot of courage to speak out about it.” There is a movement called #MeToo. It’s a movement that started in October 2017 from a tweet done by American actress Alyssa Milano, who encouraged people to tell their story using the hashtag “#MeToo”. Unexpectedly, it became viral and it is still continuing till today in different parts of the world. Men and women have been responding to it ever since. The responses shows so many people have faced the same, but they don’t tell anyone about it. Many people are afraid to speak out because of the consequences they would face being in different situations in their lives. What helps people speak out is if they have support on their side. Support and standing together in any situation can do a lot to change things.

Some societies don’t support someone who has been through this. They are told to not speak about it with anyone. You are to keep it inside and forget about it. Is it easy to just forget about something that affected your life so much? I know in my society, someone who experiences sexual harassment is told the same. That’s why it’s just important to understand people. We need to think, “What would we do if this happened to us?”

 

Works Cited

Gill, Gurvinder. “Catcalling: Women Write in Chalk to Stop Street Harassment.” BBC News, BBC, 2 July 2018, www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-43718034.

Golshan, Tara, and Li Zhou. “Where Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate Confirmation Process Stands.” Vox, Vox, 24 Sept. 2018, www.vox.com/2018/9/17/17869368/brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-sexual-assault-what-we-know.

Nolo. “The History of Sexual Harassment Law.” Www.employmentlawfirms.com, Nolo, 16 Sept. 2014,

www.employmentlawfirms.com/resources/employment/workplace-safety-and-health/sexual-harassment-law.htm.

 

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