What young women should know—

Megan Stoerman, Reporter

Sexual harassment can happen “anywhere and any time” according to Kathryn Feightner, social worker, and Jenny Johannsen, school psychologist.

Sexual harassment should never be taken lightly and is a very serious topic that hits home for many women. The term is used to describe harassment typically in the workplace, but it can happen anywhere. It involves unwanted sexual advances and/or obscene comments.

Women are subjected to sexual harassment from authority figures more than men because women are seen as easier targets for harassment. This is because of the past and outdated “generational norms and social hierarchy, “ Johannsen stated.

Generational norms and social hierarchy are reasons for sexual harassment because men have been seen as above women in society, so in day to day life some men think of themselves as above women and see them as easier targets to pick on. The outdated generational norms are the same in the way that men are seen as above women in each age group.

Young women in high school could be harassed in the halls by peers or by an adult. Peers could make inappropriate gestures or crude comments. Adults could also make young girls uncomfortable with how they approach young women or how something is handled, even if the action was not intended.

A young girl should never feel guilty or blame herself for what happened, according to Feightner. Sexual harassment should always be reported no matter the degree of harm.

If any individual were to find herself being sexually harassed, she should get out of the situation and report it to anyone above the person that was harassing her. That could be a boss, manager or head of the company if at work. If someone were to find herself being harassed at school, she should report it to a trusted teacher, principal or counselor.

At times, women feel that they cannot leave the workplace at which they were harassed, so they often times feel trapped there. Finances may also make them unable to leave the job.

Women also often feel as though they have to brush off the sexual harassment, as though it is nothing to worry about, so it just becomes a normal occurrence.

Another way to also help is to seek a distraction and focus on it using a healthy coping method. She could also stop feeling as though a brave face needs to be worn all of the time; emotions are normal after or during the harassment .

If any woman has ever been sexually harassed or assaulted, one resource for help can be found at the website for Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault or MOCSA. MOCSA is a foundation in midtown Kansas City, Mo., that is all about working on improving the lives of people impacted by sexual assault and abuse and preventing sexual violence.

MOCSA has a 24/7 crisis hotline at (913) 642-0233 or (816) 531-0233 and a very user-friendly website. MOCSA even has a free counseling service at their location in Kansas City, Mo. MOCSA also has a hospital and police advocacy service. If anyone has been sexually harassed or assaulted, she should feel free to use these services.