Student: ‘You will be believed’

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Student: ‘You will be believed’

If someone on campus makes you feel unsafe, report it to the authorities.

If someone on campus makes you feel unsafe, report it to the authorities.

Photo by Raquel Hamner

If someone on campus makes you feel unsafe, report it to the authorities.

Photo by Raquel Hamner

Photo by Raquel Hamner

If someone on campus makes you feel unsafe, report it to the authorities.

Roxanne Ready, Editor-in-Chief

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In her first semester at AACC, one female student found herself avoiding an entire building because she feared she would be sexually harassed there.

“It starts kind of innocent and weird,” the woman, who told her story anonymously during a Campus Current sexual harassment survey of 338 AACC students, said. “Then it gets to the point where it’s like, ‘OK, this needs to stop.’”

It started in her first semester on her second day of classes, when she was working on a laptop in one of the study alcoves lining the hallways of the Careers building.

“Some guy, like, poked his head around the corner a couple times, and then finally he came over and sat down next to me and started engaging me in conversation,” she said. “It’s a little uncomfortable because I don’t know this guy, but it’s not like he’s actually crossed the line yet.”

They talked for a few minutes until she had to go to class.

A couple of days later, she was studying in a different place in the same building, and he found her again.

“And this time it’s a bit more awkward,” she said. “He was just being really creepy … doing innuendos and making sexual comments.”

At that point, she made an excuse to leave.

But a few days later, as she was walking into class—she had never told him where in the building her class was—he grabbed her hand and tried to pull her back out of the classroom.

Her professor stepped in at that point, telling the man he needed to leave.

After this, she started trying to avoid the building entirely except for walking to and from class, but he found her again.

This time he asked her for a date, and she said “no.”

“And he’s like, ‘Why not?’ and he’s complaining to me that he hasn’t had a date in a while,” the woman said. “But I finally had enough, and I finally pulled the lesbian card. And he proceeds to humiliate me, and yell at me about how horrible a person I am for being a lesbian.”

In the survey, 96 percent of students said they have never been sexually harassed on campus. That leaves 12 people who said they have.

The rate of people who report when they are sexually harassed is low both at AACC and nationally.

Of the 164 students in the Campus Current survey who said they had been harassed at some point in their lives, 10 percent said they reported it. A national survey came up with a similar statistic, with 7.7 percent of victims reporting their harassment.

But this woman’s story was resolved because she spoke up. Her professor suggested she talk to campus security.

“I never saw him again after that,” she said. “I don’t know what they did, but whatever they did, it worked, because he did not find me again. He didn’t even give me his name … and he didn’t even know my name.”

The woman has some advice for her classmates: “Do not feel afraid to go to somebody and say, ‘Hey, this is going on; it needs to stop,’” she said. “Don’t hesitate to do that. … You will be believed—by someone, at least.”

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