By now we are all familiar with what sexual harassment is. Thanks to the #MeToo movement and countless people speaking up against their abusers, harassers, and rapists, change is finally starting to happen.
Colleges are creating more and more policies to protect people from becoming victims. But the question remains: Are these policies enough to create true change?
The answer in short, is no. Policies, laws, rules, regulations, it all means nothing if none of these are being enforced. How can we expect true change or improvements to be made to the so-called ‘system’ if we allow it to remain broken?
Colleges can discuss Title IX and students’ rights all day long, but until actual action is taken, nothing will change. We need to start by holding these abusers accountable for their actions, not just on a campus level, but also within the criminal justice system.
This starts the same way that the #MeToo movement did. The same way the Stonewall rebellion and Civil Rights movement did. It starts with people banding together to make radical change in a broken system.
This doesn’t mean violence. This doesn’t even necessarily mean protests or marches. We do however, need to use the voices we are given to speak out against sexual harassment and abuse toward our fellow humans.
While social media, the press, and protesting does succeed in bringing these issues to the public’s door, it only gets us so far. The power to create change in our government, criminal justice systems, schools, and even the world is given to us by our voting rights.
Voting may seem insignificant, it may even seem doomed or pointless. However, voting is the most impactful way that people can get policies changed and ensure that violators will receive actual punishment rather than a slap on the wrist.
Without proper leadership, we will continue down this unforgiving, or rather too forgiving, path.
Women were able to create drastic change less than a century ago, even without voting ability. Now women’s suffrage exists in the U.S. and women have more rights than ever.
So even if the situation seems pointless or like a lost cause, it isn’t. We can create better humans for the future. We can teach our kids the difference between right and wrong and educate them on boundaries.
The public joining together to create change is the only way that the justice system can be repaired.
On a smaller level, college campuses need to help facilitate this change. Creating a platform for individuals to speak out about these injustices. Providing safe spaces and resources for victims to receive help. Whether they are students or staff.
We are fortunate that our college prioritizes student safety. But when many students transfer, their new college or university may not. It is our job to stand up for ourselves no matter where we are, and ensure that we feel safe in our learning environment.
Use the advantages you are given to improve the world and help yourselves, your juniors, and those you care about.
The Blazer believes that the buck truly must stop here. We believe that sexual harassment and abuse was never acceptable. It never will be acceptable. It is because of this that we need to stop accepting things for how they are and use our voices to make a difference and better the lives of millions.