Sexual harassment a problem on college campuses

By News Editor Karah Wilson

Sexual assault exists on all college campuses. According to, 11 percent of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation.

8.8 percent of females and 2.2 percent of males who are graduate and professional students experience rape or sexual assault through the same ways. 23.1 percent of undergraduate females and 5.4 undergraduate males also go through these experiences.

According to rainn, male students ages 18-24 are 78 percent more likely than nonstudents of the same age to be victims. Female students ages 18-24 are 20 percent less likely than non-students of the same age to be victims.

21 percent of transgender, genderqueer and nonconforming college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to the 18 percent straight females and 4 percent straight males.

August, September, October and November see 50 percent higher assaults than other months. This is because students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college, according to rainn.

UNA students are no exception to the students who fight back against sexual assault.

“I think sexual harassment typically occurs because men think women owe them something. Just for being women,” said freshman Taylor Corbin. “There is definitely toxic masculinity out there. Guys are so afraid of ruining their reputation and cannot get past their ego to try to take a girl out whenever she’s fully aware of what’s going on.”

Corbin said she thinks women are viewed as an object of sexual pleasure rather than human beings.

“Anytime I do go out, I am constantly observing guys around me and whenever guys approach me, I intently watch their actions and how they carry themselves to make sure they’re not out to harm me,” Corbin said.

Junior Chandler Hice said sexual assault happens because there are always going to be people who victimize those they feel they can get away with it.

“I don’t believe any amount of awareness-raising or rallies or educational courses is going to change that,” Hice said. “Good people are not going to harm others, and bad people are going to harm others anyway, in spite of someone wagging a finger in their face saying it’s wrong.”

Hice said the problem with sexual assault is those who victimize others are aware what they’re doing, they just don’t care.

“Don’t get me wrong, awareness is great,” Hice said. “In the right hands, it lets a person notice and identify any potential threat before anything happens, so that maybe it can be prevented. However, a big problem I’ve seen is in the way material is presented. Often times, just from what I’ve seen personally, it tends to demonize men, essentially alienating a whole gender. It sends the message that males are dangerous and can’t be trusted.”

Hice said he feels like media, unfortunately, plays a part in sexual harassment.

“Women are often sexualized in movies, games, and shows and porn. It certainly doesn’t help,” Hice said. “I feel like that reinforces the objectivity of women in the minds of those who would do harm. When you’re able to view someone as an object rather than a person, I feel like someone could become desensitized and distanced from how their actions actually affect another.”

He said he believes the sexual exploitation of women is often portrayed as masculine.

“I guess that would fall in line with your idea of ‘toxic masculinity,’” he said. “The men who do sexually mistreat women likely do have a distorted, toxic variety of what they consider masculinity, and likely a distorted view of women’s femininity as well. These men, along with the aforementioned misrepresentation of men in educational materials, just fuel the negative connotations of being a male with regard to sexual conduct.”

Hice does not consider himself to have been sexually harassed in the past, but there are times where it came close.

“There’ve been times a girl has grabbed my butt, being really flirtatious and probably inappropriate,” he said. “As a teenage boy at the time with raging hormones, I was more flattered than anything. There were some instances in high school where a couple of guys apparently thought I was cute, and they would say some things to me I didn’t really want to hear. I didn’t like it, but it never went beyond words. I just didn’t really react to it. They knew I wasn’t into guys, and they never actually tried anything, so I didn’t feel like it really warranted a response from me, I was fine with just ignoring it. However, if they had ever actually tried anything, that would’ve been a completely different story.”

He said he does not typically see men being sexually harassed as portrayed and does not think it is taken as seriously.

“I typically see portrayed women being sexually harassed by men,” Hice said. “I don’t feel like women sexually harass men as much, but I wouldn’t actually know. Maybe they don’t because of society’s tendency to sex-shame women, which is pretty unequal when contrasted with how overt sexuality is often considered a ‘masculine’ behavior.”

He said men are typically told to ignore things and not express their emotions because they should be able to handle the situation.

“I do think it’s an issue women are more often faced with than men,” he said. “Not saying it doesn’t happen to men, because sure it can and does sometimes, but I feel like it’s an issue that affects more women than it does men.”

Freshman Sally Posey said she thinks sexual harassment exists for many reasons and some are more complex than others.

“For one, in society, women are constantly exploited as sexual objects solely for men’s pleasure rather than human beings with feelings and emotions,” Posey said. “Men seem to think it’s cool and should be taken as a compliment to publicly and sexually call out women.”

Posey said it is just a minor form of sexual harassment, but that means it is not take as seriously.

“I think any woman would agree that they don’t enjoy being yelled at in public,” Posey said. “It’s embarrassing and I for one do not like the attention.”

She said the other day a large group of men yelled at her while she was walking across campus.

“It honestly scares me,” she said. “Groups of men can be intimidating because of the way our society is, and the fact that they yelled different obscenities at me made it even worse. I was mortified.”

Posey said it is important for women to know it is not their fault for being sexually harassed.

“Walking around campus or anywhere in public, safety is always on my mind,” she said. “I’m always cautious to look around in parking lots or stairwells, always carrying my pepper spray and always having my phone on me.”

Posey said it is sad women have to live in a state of fear.

“Unless we, as a society, begin raising and teaching boys differently, it will not end,” she said. “It’s good to teach women to be cautious and how to protect themselves, but if we could get to the root of the problem and work to change, then everyone would benefit.”