I recently finished watching a show called “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix. Very good, very sad, and very true show. For those who have not heard of it, it is about a girl who dies by suicide and leaves behind tapes for all those who made her feel like she had to do so to listen to. On a few of the tapes, there is talk of rape that she experienced, along with a lot of sexual harassment. The show takes place in a high school setting, but it has not been until I got to college that topics like this have become all too real. I have personally, and thankfully never experienced anything of the sorts, but it is something that happens one too many times on college campuses. They tell us about it during orientation when we first get here. They show us statistics about it on campuses nationwide, and you don’t think anything of it until you start to hear people actually tell you it happened to them. It is happening and it needs to be talked about. In order to undo this injustice, it must be talked about publicly. It is a very evil, vial, and cruel act that no one should have to experience. Not men, not women, no one. Nobody deserves to be taken advantage of in such a violating way. I cannot even imagine the psychological, physical, and mental harm that rape or sexual harassment can have on people, but I urge whoever has gone through it speak up. Talk to someone. Tell your friends, tell a trusted adult, family member… tell anyone. You are not alone, and you do not deserve to be.
This is obviously more easily said than done, and since I have not experienced it, I really am not in much of a place to talk. It just makes me so upset having heard rumors & stories, and what not about people on my very own campus experiencing this. There is nothing acceptable about it, and I feel as though my generation has turned it into something that can be taken light heartedly. While it is great to see that Bucknell (my school) and other college campuses have clubs/organizations devoted to shedding light on the sensitive topic, it is still happening. Our bodies belong to us and to no one else, and it is a shame that there are people who do not understand that, or choose to ignore the fact. For those who have gone through anything of the sorts, my prayers are with you, and I hope you know that you are not alone.
I shared my eating disorder story to help those who struggle with the same problems, and to those who are brave enough to share a sexual harassment experience, you are stronger than you even know. We have had numerous events on my campus where individuals choose to talk to a full room of people about their stories. Some of these stories brought me to tears as you could imagine. They did more than that though because just in sharing a real story, they helped to educate other students on the fact that sexual harassment is no joking matter. All I can say is always be nice to others because you do not know what they are going through, and always be an open ear for those who you care about. Support systems got me through my eating disorder, and I do not mean to compare the two topics because they are very different things, but support is needed in order to get through them both. Below are a few sources I found online with some statistics, stories, and facts about the topic. I only recently became more educated on this information after coming to college because it was not something I was exposed to in high school. I feel that it is important that we educate ourselves in this field of discussion because the only way to make a change to it is to bring it to people’e awareness, and encourage people to think before they act.