Opinion: It’s time for men to put a stop to sexual harassment, assault


Alli Schroeder

The responsibility of sexual assault and harassment falls on the perpetrator, not the victim.

Alli Schroeder, Multimedia Editor

Anyone on social media lately has seen the multitude of posts about sexual assault and harassment, mostly posted by women.

Men’s posts have mostly been about sports.

The stark contrast between posts from men versus women shows the contrasting views about responsibility when it comes to assault and harassment. The blame is mostly placed on the women in these situations. Women are told they need to “cover-up,” “keep your head down” and even “weaponize yourself” to stop these situations from happening. 

But why does the responsibility fall on the victims of these crimes? No one asks the victim of a robbery what they were wearing when it happened to “provoke their attacker,” so why are victims of assault asked this?

The simple answer is the patriarchal society the whole world follows. The majority of sexual harassment and assault victims are women, and the majority of perpetrators are men. 

According to the United Nations, every hour an average of six women are killed worldwide by men in an act of femicide — many of them at home. This statistic doesn’t exist for men murdered by women, because it just doesn’t happen that often.

The fact is that people in general, but namely men, have so much hatred towards women that they feel women are deserving or at fault for their assaults. They are not. The responsibility for the actions of perpetrators falls on the perpetrators, not their victims.

A statistic that has been used a lot recently is the 97 percent statistic, detailing the percentage of women who have ever been sexually harassed. Sexual harassment is a blanket statement for different types of harassment involving the use of implicit or explicit sexual overtones. While this statistic comes from a study based in the United Kingdom, many women are citing it because it makes sense to them.

Most women have a story of harassment, but for some reason, men can’t seem to find the perpetrators. It seems as if a lot of men don’t realize that certain behaviors are, in fact, assault and harassment. Telling someone to smile, touching them without their permission, and making crude comments about their clothing are all sexual harassment, but men don’t realize this, or they don’t care. 

The solution to sexual assault and harassment is to hold men accountable for it. Men need to call out their friends — even with little things because those always lead to something worse. Sexual assault and harassment start with the normalization of the little things, leading to a power dynamic that only hurts women. 

Men need to do better. Women can “cover-up,” “wear sensible shoes,” or yes “weaponize themselves,” and they still get attacked. 

The narrative of sexual assault and harassment right now is that it is the fault of the victim. No matter what someone does, how scandalous or conservative they dress, what they did in their past, or what they consented to before, a person is not responsible for their own attack. 

The responsibility falls on the attacker, and they need to be held accountable.