The Houghton Star and Sexual Harassment

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So my college has recently implemented a new training on what to do if you see someone being harassed or if you yourself are being harassed. Because it was new it was up to my college’s newspaper (The Houghton Star) to get the college’s view on it. However when my friend brought me the newspaper on Friday afternoon I was pissed.

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To me this was so offensive because does it matter? Does it matter if it’s 1 or 100? In addition some of these people who said these comments knew people on campus who had been sexually harassed or assaulted at the college. The other comments on here (some of them) I was also super pissed about…so I decided to write a letter to the editor.

Dear Editor,

While maybe this is not what a letter to the editor is usually about, I still wanted to address those on the Word on the Street section who disagreed with the sexual assault survey.

To those who found it annoying or thought that it came at the wrong time: I understand. I agree that the timing was poorly placed. I won’t lie, when I saw it I knew that the training would be viewed as another stressor. But I’ll also tell the hard truth, as someone who has dealt with sexual assault both on and off campus – I was ecstatic.

Was it annoying?  I’m sure. Was it something to make the campus safer? Yessir. Would I take making the campus safer of not having something that I viewed as annoying? Most definitely.

To those who find that this training  won’t change anything: I need you to hear that sometimes it’s not just a matter of the heart. Sometimes it’s a lack of education on the topic. I know of several instances that could have been prevented if only the perpetrator was more educated. So maybe this wasn’t the best implementation of educating Houghton, but people do need to be educated.

To those who questioned its usefulness: was it as effective as it should be? No. But it was a step in the right direction. I am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, that you don’t hear about what goes on within the Houghton Bubble. I hear about a lot of stories, but maybe you’ve heard of none to one. However if you’ve heard of just one, that shouldn’t matter. Whether it’s one instance or ten, shouldn’t we be doing something to stop and prevent it? As someone who has dealt with sexual assault at the college I feel like asking if the campus needed to be educated devalued any singular instance. Does it need to be a multitude? Isn’t one instance enough? Shouldn’t we stop and prevent it before that happens?

Houghton is safer than most campuses – but it is not safe. No matter what there’s always room for improvement so I commend Houghton for taking a step in the right direction.

Bethany Schoonover ‘18

Since writing this I’ve had several girls come up to me and thank me for being so brave and also because they’ve been harassed themselves on campus.

If you want to see the online version of my campus’ paper just click on this link.

Bethany

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