WRITTEN BY: PURVAJA PISUPATI
COVER PHOTO COURTESY: WIX
Picture this: you’re at school and you feel extremely self-conscious. Your shirt feels too low-cut, your pants feel too tight, and you just want to go home and end the horrible wardrobe choice you have made. On your way to your locker, a group of boys walks past you and one of them grabs your butt and walks away laughing. Now what? You are embarrassed and everyone is looking at your butt. That feeling at the bottom of your stomach is not just embarrassment; that was sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome, inappropriate bullying or coercion of a sexual nature; it ranges from mild transgressions to abuse or assault and it is one of the biggest problems in high schools. According to K12academics.com, 25 percent of high school students will experience some form of sexual harassment. Those who have been harassed or abused are far more likely to have mental health issues such as depression and anorexia. The sad reality is that if we do not fix this problem, the high schoolers who grow up to be the teachers and doctors of the future will be psychologically altered. According to mentalhealthamerican.net, “Sexual assault can have a variety of short and long-term effects on a victim's mental health. Many survivors report flashbacks of their assault in addition to feelings of shame, isolation, shock, confusion, and guilt. People who were victims of rape or sexual assault are at an increased risk for developing: depression, PTSD, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders and anxiety.”
If you think about it, most of the problems America is facing are on that list: opioid abuse, depression, not eating properly and anxiety. The realization that needs to occur is that sexual harassment is not a far away problem that just makes you uncomfortable. It is a very real problem that is happening to one in four people around you and it needs to stop.
If we bring more attention to the problem and properly address it instead of just apologizing to victims, we can support those who have been hurt.