The Looking Glass

The Looking Glass

The Department of Psychology


Michelle Butler

Sexual harassment is a topic to be avoided at all costs. But sexual harassment won't go away unless it's confronted. We are not immune to the problem here on campus. Now that I have said the unspeakable, this issue can be confronted. I am not accusing any individual. Sexual harassment is a problem in our society, and campus life is a microcosm of society. We have professors here who take pride in being masterful mentors to students they respect and admire. Our concerned and involved faculty is the greatest reason I can think of for being a student at CSLA.

Sexual harassment can, in fact, be in the form of a student's disrespect for a professor or another student. Sexual harassment does the greatest damage when there is an imbalance of power skewed in the favor of the one doing the harassing. Since a professor holds the power to impact the future of a student, students who are sexually harassed by professors may fear reporting it. Reporting the harassment could backfire, because false accusations based on revenge need to be considered too. Students need professors for letters of recommendation, grades, and mentors. There are many reasons not to report.

If sexual harassment goes unreported there are no consequences. There are no changes. If someone is inappropriate with you, it is not likely that you are experiencing an isolated incident. Sexual harassment is a frightening topic because the definition may be different in the mind of each individual. You will need to define it if you feel you are a victim. Tell the person his/her behavior is inappropriate. If the behavior constitutes sexual harassment in your mind, tell him/her so. That's fair warning. If it continues, report it. Inappropriate behavior should not be condoned by default. The courage it takes to report could mean that those who follow you will not be harassed. If you have experienced nothing but respect and support from faculty here, I'm not surprised. We have some really great faculty at CSLA. Thank them for their support and respect. Respect and support them in return.

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary, new, universal and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him. The old laws will be expanded and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings."...Thoreau.


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