Sexual harassment training welcomed on college campuses

Sexual harassment is one of the most common and least reported forms of sexual misconduct.
While most people know that sexual assault includes rape and unwanted physical contact, few know what constitutes "sexual harassment."
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines it this way: "Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment is sexual harassment."
Title IX protects and forbids sexual harassment towardcollege students and faculty. College women ages 18 to 24 are three times more at risk of being victims of sexual violence, according to the RAINN Foundation. The group, whose name stands for Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, is dedicated to stopping sexual violence.
Moreover, a 2006 study conducted by the American Association of University Women found that 62 percent of college women reported feeling sexually harassed on campus.
The problem with these statistics, and with this topic in general, is that most of the time, sexual harassment goes unreported. Many women feel that if they weren't actually raped then there is nothing to report.
This "As long as they didn't touch me" mentality is what allows a majority of harassment cases to go unreported. It is detrimental to every person on college campuses and schools nationwide should be actively trying to stop and prevent it with Sexual Misconduct training classes.
Kudos go out to officials here at Bethune-Cookman University who recently conducted mandatory Title IX training for the entire campus body.
There is no doubt that more education about sexual harassment can make a difference. Not only should students receive information on how to avoid harassing others, but also on what harassment is and how to report it to authorities if it happens to them.
At the same time, this lack of knowledge can create a bad situation for all involved. The assailant is allowed to live in blissful ignorance, causing (perhaps unintentional) harm with the belief that nothing has been done wrong, which further feeds into their delusion. Later, they discover that their actions were harmful and feel an unmeasurable sense of guilt.
In the same way, lack of education also can lead to even bigger issues for the victim. Not realizing that they have been violated, victims of sexual harassment may feel at fault for what happened to them. Research shows that those who have experienced harassment suffer from stress reactions, such as anxiety, problems with sleeping, depression, lower self-esteem, and even in severe cases, PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sexual misconduct training, therefore, provides so much more than information about what is right and wrong. It can provide those on college campuses with the ability to make better judgments and to know their rights on how they should be treated.

Education is the key to stopping sexual harassment from harming anyone else.


Amber Courtney is a sophomore mass communications major.