Opinion: Sexual harassment has to stop

Kamryn Kirkham

97% of women are sexually harassed by men at least once in their lifetime. No matter where you live, how old you are, or what you look like, women are still being treated like they are just some object men can use for their entertainment. Too many women are experiencing misogynist treatment from men, which is disgusting and completely non excusable. 

After being sexually harassed or assaulted, too many girls hear phrases like “You were asking for it” or “it’s your fault for dressing like that”. These phrases instantly make women start to believe that it is their fault for being sexually harassed. People are shaming women for showing a bit more skin or wearing tight clothes, because it “gives men ideas”. Instead of blaming women for being sexually assaulted we need to start holding men accountable for their actions. It is never a woman’s fault for “giving men ideas” because literally no one can decide what other people think. Instead of trying to teach women to hide their bodies, we need to teach people to educate their sons on how to treat women with respect and kindness. Women being sexually harassed or assaulted is never a woman’s issue, it’s a men’s issue.

Because of the way men are treated by women, society tries to teach women that showing a little skin or wearing tight clothes automatically makes them a “whore” or “slut”. But while our society teaches girls to cover up their bodies, people also advocate body positivity and self confidence. But how can someone who tells girls to hide their bodies, also tell girls to love their bodies and be confident in them? Women should never feel ashamed or afraid to show a little skin, or wear that tight dress, or cropped shirt. Whatever makes women feel their most confident happy self, then that’s what they should wear, and no one should ever have to apologize for it. Instead we need to start bringing up the women who do not conform to the society standard and stop tearing them down. 

Even with all of this going on, I have never seen even one man advocate these issues. It is always women sharing men’s issues. I think it is amazing that so many strong women are fighting for change in our messed up society, and I love seeing all the support women have been giving each other. But the issue we are trying to fight stems from men. To really bring about change we need to continue supporting women, but also begin to fight to educate men about these issues. We need to start encouraging them more to advocate the issues women face and encourage others to do the same. It makes me so proud to see women unapologetic fighting for equality and justice, but this is a men’s issue and men need to start holding themselves accountable and listen to the incredible women they too often put down.