Sexual harassment, assault at work, what do you know?

Sexual Harassment and assault at work are untouched topics in our community — but about half of students believe it happens often.

Not a lot of women and men know the definition of sexual harassment and assault and when the unfortunate happens, they’re left in a state of trauma and confusion. According to, “Trauma and Recovery,” by psychiatrist, “Judith Lewis,” “Traumatic memories have a number of unusual qualities. They are not encoded like the ordinary memories of adults in a verbal, linear narrative that is assimilated into an ongoing life story…. Rather, they are encoded in the form of vivid sensations and images.” For those who don’t know the definition, the Illinois definition of sexual harassment according to “” the definition of sexual harassment is, “unwanted, deliberate, or repeated sexual behavior. Sexual harassment can include the display of sexually suggestive objects, signs, magazines, or pictures, or the sending of sexually suggestive emails or text messages to persons who do not want this attention.” Alongside harassment the Illinois definition of sexual assault according to “” it states, “A person commits criminal sexual assault if that person commits an act of sexual penetration and uses force or threat of force; knows that the victim is unable to understand the nature or act or is unable to give knowing consent; is a family member of the victim, and the victim is under 18 years of age; or is 17 years of age or older and holds a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim, and the victim is at least 13 years of age but under 18 years of age.”  

Despite knowing all this, there are people who will say, “Well why don’t they just scream?” They ask all these, “Why don’t they?” questions but don’t consider what goes on in the head of a victim. Clinical psychologists and forensic consultant David Lisak said in a presentation in Baltimore that, “when people are raped, the experience is so traumatic that it often causes them to behave in a wide variety of ways that may seem inexplicable. ‘How many people have heard a rape victim say, I felt paralyzed’? How many have ever heard a rape victim say, ‘I wanted to scream, and I couldn’t?’ How many people here who treat trauma victims have heard them say, ‘I had a nightmare last night; I was trying to run away and I couldn’t move’?” Whether it be rape, sexual harassment or assault, you can’t expect every victim to do something about right in that moment. In a survey of 107 Morton East students, 48 said sexual assault and harassment is common in workplace and 59 said it is not common.  

 While some people seem quite informed on the topic of harassment in the workplace there are still some that don’t have much to say about it. This means the topic of sexual harassment isn’t very known as much as it really should be. 

“Not really to informed but I suppose strangers would be more likely to do it,” social science teacher Mr. Sweeney said.

“It is wrong and there should be more information about it and support to allow people to speak up on their experiences without the fear of being told that they’re lying. There should also be more information so someone can tell when they are being assaulted because some people gaslight them to it and make them think it’s okay,” Efren Bahena, social activist/Women rights activist, said. 

Prior to this people out in the community are most likely to be involved in sexual harassment rather than people in the workplace.  

 Some students have different 2 common viewpoints on how they will tend to the situation if they see it firsthand. Some would act others would show support to the victim. 

”I would be there for them. Encourage them to speak up or accept whatever choice they made if they were okay,” black rights activist Marcelo Ortega said. 

”Depending on the severity, I would intervene to stop the harassment, assault, and report what I had seen,” senior Eddie Jenkins said. 

 Without a doubt some people would be there for the victims that have been harassed at the workplace while other will go help the person and stop it, so it won’t go too far.