Nowadays, the topic of sexual harassment is trending. Several posts on social media such as Twitter and Facebook once again sparked never-ending debates. Debates about who is at fault or what should be done. Oftentimes, it is the victim who is blamed for the injustice that has been done to them. Stereotypes make their appearances and the victims are heavily judged and shamed. This is called Rape or Sexual Harassment Culture, which is the common misconceptions and stereotypes about the subject of sexual harassment. You might have already heard of these sentences:
“You were asking for it.”
“You shouldn’t wear these types of clothing.”
“You should’ve tried to enjoy it, you’re a man.”
These are examples of victim blaming and common misconceptions. Firstly, no one has ever asked for anyone to sexually harass them. Regardless of what a person is was wearing or doing, no one has the right to violate anyone. It is almost like stating, “This person is not wearing a helmet, so I have the right to bash their head on the wall. They were asking for it.” You wouldn’t ask for anyone to steal something from you, right?
Another misconception is about the clothing of the assaulted. A study done by Theresa Meiner in 2007 concluded that the more “revealing” the woman is clothed, she is less prone to sexual harassment. It showed that the if a woman is dressed more provocatively, it does not show submissiveness, rather it displays confidence. It revealed that rapists are more likely to prey on women who seem vulnerable. A schoolmate of mine, who was wearing the old junior high school uniform of PCNSHS, got harassed on a jeep. She was simply riding the jeep when a man sat in front of her and started touching himself. This is proof that clothing does not matter when it comes to sexual harassment.
One more myth when it comes to sexual harassment is that men do not get sexually assaulted. When they are raped, they are told that they were supposed to enjoy it or that they were lucky. However, that is not the case. This is also part of toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity refers to the stereotypes and standards for men that may be harmful to society and the men themselves. It is why 90-95% of men do not report cases of rape or sexual harassment, because they will most likely be shamed and be told to “suck it up.”
While we are on the subject of rape culture, victim blaming should be brought to our attention. As stated before, victims are never to be blamed. But how about taking precautionary measures? I have recently noticed that when talking about precaution, it usually leads to victim blaming. Giving precautions may lead to them feeling as if it would be their fault if it were to happen to them. While it is alright to talk about precautionary measures, the victim should never be blamed. But do make sure to talk about the correct and sensible precautionary measures and remain unbiased. Keep that abiding by incorrect standards and ideals that are embedded in the very wrong rape culture do absolutely nothing to prevent sexual harassment.
The reason that some of these victims never speak out and receive justice is because of the judgement that befalls upon them. We should learn to erase these myths and misconceptions about sexual harassment. Refrain from comments that degrade victims. Help them reach out, be their voice, be there for them. Destroy those stereotypes that has been drilled and has taken root in our brains. Remind them that it’s never their fault.
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