In my Gender and Politics seminar yesterday, the discussion was focused on sexual harassment and violence, and why it occurs. It is arguable that sexual harassment and violence tends to impact women in greater instances than it does men, however it is crucial to acknowledge that sexual harassment and violence does in fact impact men, and furthermore that it can be exist between a man and a woman, a woman and a man, a man and a man and a woman and a woman.
One keep aspect of the discussion that was examined in my seminar was why there is so little education and awareness generated about sexual harassment and violence. It was recognized in my seminar that there is a definite flaw in the sexual education system, considering how from a young age women are taught how to avoid being a victim of sexual harassment and violence as opposed to teaching young men (and woman) from a young age what is categorized as harassment or violence, and how to refrain from perpetuating such behaviour.
Why is this? Why is it socially accepted that women are expected to avoid being assaulted or harassed, and in doing so are expected to take responsibility for the occurrence of harassment or assault? Why are we not instead educating individuals from a young age what constitutes as harassment or assault, and how to avoid engaging in such behaviour? I believe this realization is deeply disturbing and furthermore unacceptable, and something needs to be changed in the sexual education system in order to develop a curriculum that adheres to the basic human rights of persons. Sexual harassment or assault may be identified as behaviour or words that are unwanted by the recipient, and the key word in its definition is ‘unwanted’. If an individual denies interaction from another person because it makes them feel uncomfortable, the interaction should cease to exist immediately without any attempt to prolong the interaction.
Something needs to be done in order to correct this tremendous flaw in contemporary society, and it needs to be acknowledged that sexual violence and harassment is something that needs to be taught as opposed to understanding how to avoid it.