Lessons Learned From Being Harassed On Campus
Start writing a post
Life Stages

I Was Recently Harassed On Campus, And Here's What I Walked Away Knowing

I was recently harassed on campus, and it turned into an eye-opening experience on victim-shaming.

131
I Was Recently Harassed On Campus, And Here's What I Walked Away Knowing
Wikimedia

May 20th 2019

4:02 pm

I was walking across campus from my internship to work when I was approached by three young men. They had backpacks, so I assumed they were UW students just like me. When they asked me if they could interview me for a class project, I didn't hesitate or think twice. We've all been there; hell even I have asked fellow students to take a survey or answer a few questions.

One of them moved to stand next to me, and I watched him pull up the voice recorder on his phone. Another one held up his phone to the start the video. Nothing out of the ordinary.

The boy next to me asked my for my name and major, which I willingly provided. Then he asked me, "What's the craziest thing you've ever done?"

I didn't think it was that weird of a question - maybe it was for a psych class or something?

I told them about travelling cross-country and going bridge-jumping at my last college.

He informed me that wasn't he meant.

He went on to ask me about my craziest sexual experience, and then gave graphic examples of what he meant, what he wanted to do to me.

My face felt like it was burning.

"Excuse me?" I could feel my stomach in my throat, and my breathing started to become erratic.

He repeated what he said.

"You know that's sexual harassment, right?"

He looked at me unphased, and even alittle confused.

"No, it's not. How?"

I took off in the opposite direction towards the Campus Safety building and made my way to the nearest bathroom. I put my head against the cool tile on the wall trying to regulate my breathing.

Why did they think that was okay? Am I overreacting? They probably don't know what they did wrong, or why what they did was wrong.

I called my best friend from the bathroom, crying. I told her everything. I questioned my reaction to the situation; I am known to be reactionary and overreact when I'm taken off-guard or upset. She affirmed to me that what they said wasn't okay, that I should go to campus security, at the very least it would stop them from doing it again.

I reported them to Campus Security. They were fantastic throughout the entire process. They brought in an advocate, who helped me understand my options and offered follow-up counseling. I decided to file a police report against the boys.

We live in a world where women automatically question their own emotions and actions when something like this happens. They blame themselves. They try to think of everything they did wrong, how they could have prevented it.

The common thought: It's my fault.

We have taught women to think that harassment and assault is their fault.

I believed it was my fault.

Even though it was broad daylight, in the middle of campus, I know better than to walk alone. I thought those two factors would prevent something like this from happening. But it didn't.

I knew better than to talk to strangers. Aren't we taught from a young age not to talk to strangers? I thought I was helping out a fellow student, just like I would want to be helped if the situation were reversed. They used that against me.

I told myself, "I should have done this… I shouldn't have done that…."

It was my fault.

Why are their actions my fault? How does the victim always manage to get blamed?

When I told my mom what happened, she told me she was really proud of me for going to Campus Security and the Police.

"Isn't that what you're supposed to do?"

"You'd be surprised how many people don't. They convince themselves they're overreacting, that they did something wrong. They don't think anything will happen if they speak out."

We've taught women that it's not okay to speak out when things like this happen; that their voice doesn't matter and won't make a difference.

I recognize that I did what I needed to in this situation, and that the ultimate outcome is outside of my control. I don't know what will happen down the road for those boys, if justice will be served. But I do know that by sharing what happened, I made people aware that it happened. How can we stop something if we don't know it's happening?

By speaking out I made the Officers aware that it happened, and they were able to find them and stop them from doing it to someone else. It sent the message that this kind of behavior is not okay.

When one person speaks out it gives the next person the courage to do the same. And then the next. Until eventually, and hopefully, something gets done about it.

One voice will eventually turn into the roar of a crowd. And maybe then we can actually do something about it.

Please say something.

A special thanks to the UW-Tacoma Campus Safety Officers, the Tacoma Police Department, and the Office of Advocacy and Support for all of their help, support, and guidance.



Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
New Year Resolutions

It's 2024! You drank champagne, you wore funny glasses, and you watched the ball drop as you sang the night away with your best friends and family. What comes next you may ask? Sadly you will have to return to the real world full of work and school and paying bills. "Ah! But I have my New Year's Resolutions!"- you may say. But most of them are 100% complete cliches that you won't hold on to. Here is a list of those things you hear all around the world.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

The Ultimate Birthday: Unveiling the Perfect Day to Celebrate!

Let's be real, the day your birthday falls on could really make or break it.

25915
​different color birthday candles on a cake
Blacksburg Children's Museum

You heard it here first: birthdays in college are some of the best days of your four years. For one day annually, you get to forget about your identity as a stressed, broke, and overworked student, and take the time to celebrate. You can throw your responsibilities for a day, use your one skip in that class you hate, receive kind cards and gifts from loved ones and just enjoy yourself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

Unleash Inspiration: 15 Relatable Disney Lyrics!

Leave it to Disney to write lyrics that kids of all ages can relate to.

52667
The 15 most inspiring Disney songs

Disney songs are some of the most relatable and inspiring songs not only because of the lovable characters who sing them, but also because of their well-written song lyrics. While some lyrics make more sense with knowledge of the movie's story line that they were written for, other Disney lyrics are very relatable and inspiring for any listener.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

The Six Most Iconic Pitbull Lyrics Of All Time

Mr. Worldwide just wants to see you succeed.

73069
a photo of artist Pitbull

It is no secret that Pitbull is a gifted artist, but many fail to remember that he can be a source of great inspiration as well. The following is a list of iconic Pitbull lyrics that we know and love. Read on to feel empowered — if you think you can handle it.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

11 Essential Expectations for Becoming the Ultimate Cheermeister

Mastering Festive Expectations: Tips to Shine as Your Holiday Cheermeister

49923
Crazy for Christmas

So you’ve elected yourself as this year's Holiday Cheermeister, there’s no shame in that. The holidays are your pride and joy, and you've taken on the responsibility to get everyone in the spirit. With only one week until Christmas, here are some things we expect from you, Cheermeister.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments