Tag Archives: Sexual harassment

Consensual Health

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As Bemidji State University pushes to revise the Minnesota State’s 37 college and universities’ definition of sexual assault, the focus on ending campus assault has also reached nationwide. Following up on my last post regarding #metoo, some of these issues are highly  contentious and arguably have a gray area for some. Still, the work being done by researchers and students alike to make our campuses safer cannot be ignored.

As a student at a non-traditional institution, I haven’t had to deal with out of control frat parties or dorm room assault at Metropolitan State. But having visited friends at traditional campuses, I have seen this firsthand. Drinks getting drugged. Women realizing the next day that they blacked out and have no idea if they’d been taken advantage of. Guys not thinking that they should think twice about bringing that incoherent girl upstairs. And simply being a woman facing harassment or bias just for being who I am, I can tell you that this is a problem wherever you are. Being a commuter college doesn’t mean that harassment and assault don’t happen. It just happens in a different way.

While Minnesota State tightens up the gray area of “affirmative consent,” two Columbia professors are shifting to a broader view of changing the culture. Jennifer Hirsch and Claude Ann Mellins, at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health are looking for new solutions where other programs have failed. Instead of just focusing on individuals, S.H.I.F.T., or Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation provides a broader examination of sexual assault. As Hirsch puts it, quite bluntly, “We have to stop working one penis at a time!” The program seeks to portray sexual assault prevention as part of sexual health, instead of a topic that most people would like to avoid.

So, tighten up the gray area or broaden the view? I tend to give preference to broader solutions, since tightening up the rules seems to make otherwise unaffected people consider it a taboo issue. At the same time, I do believe that individuals must be accountable for their actions, and for that I applaud the Student’s United group of Minnesota State for giving a clearer definition of “consent.” Sexual assault on campuses is nothing new, but perhaps a new approach is exactly what we need.

6-year-old Committing Sexual Harassment?

CNN Article on 6-year-old suspended
A 6-year-old in Colorado Springs, CO is accused of kissing a classmates hand and is suspended. Not only is the child suspended, but the school is accusing him of sexual harassment?
I was sitting in my car dealerships office when I heard the report. I could not believe what I was hearing. I have to admit that I actually laughed. He kissed a girl on the hand? Big deal! The best part about it- my not-so-politically-correct car salesman said, “I hope he went for an older girl!”
Well, now that this has made national news, the outrage has begun. I agree with the mother of the child, “This is taking it to an extreme that doesn’t need to be met with a 6-year-old.” Children are usually pretty expressive with their thoughts and feelings at that age and a kiss on the hand 20 years ago would be considered chivalry.
The child in the past has had some behavioral issues. Do these play into this punishment from the school? The punishment should really be coming from the parents and without knowing the girls parent’s point of view, an accusation of such should not be imposed.