Do you ever wonder…
What, exactly, is the definition of sexual assault? Or why am I part of the problem if I don’t get involved?
Q: What is sexual assault?
A: Sexual violence is nonconsensual sexual interaction with force or manipulation, including unwanted touches, penetration, sexual comments or stalking. Anyone can be a target of sexual violence regardless of age (children, teens, adults, and elders), race, ethnicity, gender, religion, ability, gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation. Anyone can be a predator, such as acquaintances, family members, or trusted individuals or strangers.
Q: What is sexual harassment and why is it so easy to fall into?
A: Both males and females can be perpetrators, whether it is done in a serious or joking manner. This includes unwanted sexual advances and demands for sexual favors: to be granted or keep a job, refusal can have negative consequences for the victim. Persisting in this unwanted behavior creates not only an unhealthy and unproductive environment but is mentally and physically damaging to the target of the unwanted and inappropriate advances.
Q: No one sexually harasses any more, isn’t it all in the past?
A: According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center: “Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime.”
Q: What are microaggressions?
A: “Did I hear that?” “Did that just happen?” Microaggressions are slight comments, behaviors, or degrading actions, some intentional and some not intentional which results in a hostile environment that were meant to target a person or group. Microaggressions are derogatory or hostile references and biases toward race, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, immigration, class, religion, etc.
Q: What does knowing and understanding any of this do for me? Why should I engage?
A: We often hear the expression “woke” and various comments but let’s be serious about being culturally, ethnically and socio-economically conscious of others. When we can respect, empathize and understand each other, as a whole, we create a healthier and more productive work or academic environment.
Cultural sensitivity is important because it allows us to effectively function in other cultures, allows us to respect and value other cultures, and can reduce cultural barriers between professionals and their patients. Inappropriate behaviors and comments cast a dark shadow, leading to not only broken individuals but laws are broken, and lawsuits prevail.
Q: Aren’t we becoming too sensitive? Why can’t I say whatever I want?
A: It is not productive, professional nor mature to just “say anything” in business nor academic environments. We do not want to criticize you but explain things and fill in the blanks from all of our early History class omissions.
Q: Why am I part of the problem if I don’t get involved? Why should I be an ally?
A: Being an ally creates and fortifies a welcoming, safe and productive environment. If you are part of the group who is bullying or harassing someone else, and you intervene and stand up for the victim/victims, you are an ally.
This may be new to you and from the University of California, Riverside the following steps: Where do you stand in the steps to becoming an ally? 1) Repulsion, 2) Pity, 3) Tolerance, 4) Acceptance, 5) Support, 6) Admiration, 7) Appreciation, 8) Nurturance. What
BE AN ALLY!!! 1) Know the issue, 2) Provide support, 3) Educate yourself and others, 4) Advocate for change and equality