Sexual assault and harassment are becoming more acknowledged nationally, in part due to recent allegations made against Hollywood icons Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, among many others.
The allegations leveled against Weinstein sparked a campaign on social media called #MeToo, created by Tarana Burke and promoted by actress Alyssa Milano. The hashtag was also used by thousands of other victims of sexual abuse in order to speak up about their experiences.
City College is not removed from the danger of sexual assault and harassment.
According to the City College Campus Police media logs, a sexual assault and battery case was reported on Oct. 23 by a female student in the R-building. The report states that the student’s classmate forced her to kiss him while also making unwanted advances towards her.
Another incident in the police media log was an indecent exposure report which occurred the same day as the sexual assault. Information about the indecent exposure was provided as an email through San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) Alert, which described a man driving in his vehicle before exposing himself to a female student around the 1400 block of C Street.
Based on a study conducted by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an organization devoted to preventing any forms of abuse and helping victims of that abuse, every 98 seconds another person in the United States is sexually assaulted. Their studies also found that 9 out of every 10 rape victims are female, and that the majority of sexual assaults (55 percent) occur at or near the victim’s homes.
Any form of sexual assault and harassment has the ability to break a person’s psyche and traumatize them for life. An important aspect of identifying sexual related crimes is being able to recognize the signs of someone who has been attacked or targeted. Mental health peer educator Abby Weisman, who works in City College’s City College’s Mental Health counseling center in BT-105, said, “There are personality changes. Maybe they isolate themselves from their friends or family.”
Weisman also talked about the necessary steps to take when trying to deal with abuse or any form of sexual assault. “I think the first step would be educating themselves on different forms of abuse,” Weisman said. She also noted that these forms of abuse include physical, emotional, and financial abuse. Weisman advised that searching the internet for articles about the signs of these types of abuse can help victims faster.
Weisman said the second step would be, “Look up local resources. Certainly they can come here if they’re a student or even if they’re not.” The peer educator gave suggestions of other locations to seek counseling for any form of abuse or mental health which includes the Center for Community Solutions, with locations in El Cajon and Mission Bay. Another organization is the Family Justice Center located on 101 W. Broadway Street in downtown San Diego.
She then commented on Anthony Rapp’s recent accusations of Kevin Spacey making unwanted advances towards Rapp when he was 14. “It is important that examples of man to man or even woman to man do come to light because they do happen,” Weisman said.
In 2015 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency that deals with workplace discrimination, catalogued 6,822 sexual harassment claims of which 17 percent were claimed by men. Another study which comes from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center concluded that only 20.8 percent of heterosexual men reported a sexually violent crime, while 47.4 percent of bisexual men, and 40.2 percent of homosexual men reported a violent sex crime.
According to RAINN, 3 percent of men in the U.S. have experienced an attempted or completed sexual assault. RAINN also reported that men between the ages of 18 and 24 that are in college are five times more likely to be victims of rape, sexual assault, or sexual harassment than non-students in the same age group.
City College student and Video Production major, Raymond Arrolado, can attest to that. Arrolado described being at a bar with some friends when a person dressed as a woman approached him and made advances towards him that he didn’t reciprocate. “I guess what I felt was dumbfounded a little bit,” Arrollado said. He also commented on the subject of men not reporting sexual harassment at a higher rate, “They might not want to feel embarrassment. Men are taught keep it in and they might not feel the need to tell anyone.”
With over 70 women accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment, and now 13 people accusing Kevin Spacey of the same crime, it could open the door for many victims of any gender to report their experiences of sexual abuse.