Pick up the Rug

Let’s stop sweeping sexual harassment and assault stories under the metaphorical rug


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Women holds up had to finally say ‘stop’ to harassment. (Istockphotos)

Caley Walsh ‘23

87 percent of young women are victims of sexual harassment. Why isn’t Regis talking about this moreBeing separated by sex, we often miss a lot of perspectives of the opposite sex. It is necessary for Regis Jesuit High School, a private catholic school in Colorado, to provide a place for girls and boys to become educated on sexual assault and harassment and give perspectives to each other about the issue. This is something that occurs way too often to just be pushed aside and not talked about.

It is easy to forget about an issue when it doesn’t happen to you but it is an issue that constantly remains in the minds of females. I have encountered my fair share of clueless boys, who try to provide excuses, But she didn’t say no” and I always wonder how it can get better or what we can do to better provide teenagers with a proper place to speak on these issues. Lack of communication is a silent killer, but it can be stopped and to do that we must talk, listen and learn.

Regis should provide a day of co-ed discussion and talks from victims perspectives on sexual harassment and assault to better educate their students on these three things:

1st: Schools are meant to educate us, not only on old empires or how to calculate the volume of a cylinder but stuff that we need in real life. Schools often avoid sexual topics because they are uncomfortable, but being outside of our comfort zones is where we grow. Just as we are learning the harder parts of American history including the worst of racism, so too should we include parts of gender relationships.

33% of America’s youth are victims of sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse.

2nd: People assume high schoolers know more than they do. My sister was touched inappropriately and she didn’t even realize how wrong it was because it was her “friend” who did it. Knowing what sexual harassment and assault are, identifying common perpetrators (friends not strangers), reading body language, and understanding victim behavior are all important topics that need to be taught.

3rd: This can’t just be teachers speaking to single-sex groups; high schoolers need people closer to their age as well as a forum to express their own perspectives and experiences. I feel co-ed discussions would allow these issues to minimize and make victims feel more safe about coming forward. Even if we do have friends on the other side, it is hard to bring up issues like SA without a specific place to do so.

Some say the genders will just zone out, become awkward or shut down, or simply become defensive maybe, but it would still be beneficial to many others. We shouldn’t take away from students who need education because of students who would rather sleep through every class. We don’t just cancel a history class because a kid is asleep in the back. Giving perspective in my opinions is one of the best ways to provide importance to a subject. Awkward tension is unavoidable. 90 percent of the things we do are covered in awkward tension. If an important issue causes discomfort than it needs to be talked about

Others say that Regis already has Blue Bench, an organization specializing in sexual harassment and assault, in place, but is was single sex. Though it was helpful I feel It could have been more insightful if we heard real perspectives rather than simplified what ifs.

Not only that but I feel if boys heard what SA was like in a girls point of view they could be more educated on the issue. Think of when you watch a movie and you enjoy it but in the credits you see it was based on a real story that becomes a big part of the movie. You begin to tell your friends before even mentioning the plot you say “It’s based on a true story!”. Reality just adds flare to whatever you are talking about. If Regis can do the same and provide real prospectives of sexual harassment and assault victims I feel the issue would begin to be more of a reality rather than an issue that doesn’t concern us.

Only 24 states require sex education and out of those 24 only 10 have specific reference toward topics such as healthy relationships, sexual assault, or consent in those programs.

Giving Regis a platform for girls and boys to speak together on their opinions and perspectives on sexual assault among teenagers would allow for the issue to be addressed and avoided. People always say put yourselves in other peoples’ shoes but how is one to do that when we barely even see the shoes?

“No” can be a hard word to get out and it is not that easy. That is why I think it is so important to discuss this before it’s too late

Education should not be limited to certain subjects. Regis should provide a place for a co-ed discussion and education on sexual assault and harassment by using the perspective of teenagers themselves. This matter occurs too often to be swept under the rug and I think that it’s time to pick that rug up and cause the issue to become more than just a thing you hear about from time to time.

It’s time to hear from each other and it’s time to stop the excuses. Let’s make things simple and make the confusion scarce. it’s time for real talk together.