Sexual assault and harassment: the unnoticed

Kaitlyn Smitten, Staff writer

Sexual assault is one of the most prominent issues in today’s society and it often goes unnoticed. There is an estimated 433,648 reported victims of sexual assault a year according to, in addition to the ones that go unreported. 

Teens are usually the victims of this heinous crime, and most of the time they do not know who to turn to. Being such a sensitive subject, sexual assault is often very difficult for people to discuss. More often than not, teens are told to “brush it off” and take it as a compliment, but it is a mentally, and even sometimes physically, scaring event, and there will never not be trauma from such an assault. 

Sexual harassment is one of the biggest issues of today, especially in the workplace. A lot of the time, teens are exploited by customers and even co-workers and are scared that they are going to lose their jobs. 

“He would always make it where he’d be standing behind me all of the time, and would even make comments about sex to me which made me very uncomfortable,” said Audrey Armstrong, senior. 

The most common cases are those which occur in the workplace.

“I tried to go to management but nothing happened. I had to threaten to quit for them to just move him to a different department, even then, that didn’t stop anything,” said Armstrong.

Sexual assault and harassment is a difficult subject that does have two sides to it, but a lot of the time the assaulter will not admit to his or her actions.

“I told my shift leader first, but somehow I got scheduled alone with him. After that I told management who didn’t do anything. I had to gather all the females at the workplace who had also experienced the same thing to go to management,” said Armstrong. “That’s when they switched him to a different department because he definitely should have been fired.” 

Sometimes there does not even have to be physical contact to make someone uncomfortable in a sexual situation, and these are often the most ignored cases. Sexual harassment is often overlooked as it is not viewed as seriously as physical assault, but it can be just as uncomfortable. 

“He was just always freaking me out, saying how ‘I look great in these pants’ or hat I have a great body and just saying super inappropriate things,” said Samantha Armstrong, senior. 

Sexual harassment can be classified in many ways, but when someone is making you uncomfortable, pointing out physical features about you, and over sexualizing you, it is classified as assault.

“I think that the beginning of sexual assault and harassment does go unnoticed because people don’t want to sound crazy or hurt anyone’s feelings if they try to say something,” Samantha Armstrong said. 

Some people today, especially teens, have the perception that  sexual assault or harassment is a compliment, and that it’s a way of flirting, but it should never be accepted nor normalized. 

“I think people believe it’s flattering to be talked to or touched in a certain way; that is definitely not okay,” Samantha Armstrong said. 

The fact that sexual assault and harassment are so normalized today, makes it difficult for people to come out about the topic, as they do not want to feel like they are begging for attention or trying to ruin someone’s life. In actuality, no matter what circumstance, sexual harassment in any way should never be overlooked. 

“Sexual harassment is so common now that when it happens, people don’t want to say anything because they don’t want to make others uncomfortable or make a big deal out of something that’s not a big deal,” Samantha Armstrong said. 

The best way to prevent sexual assault is to report it and by doing so you bring attention to a topic that is usually overlooked. 

“I think we all need to be more vocal about the topic; nothing is going to happen if we stay silent,” said Ashley Saflar, sophomore.