Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

Gender stereotypes are just the beginning when dealing with the dichomoty between men and women.  In addition to the gender roles that constrict people, there is the undeniable fact that sexual assault and harassment happen much more often the people would like to admit.  Most people reading this probably know someone who has been a victim of sexual harassment or assault, whether they realize it or not.  The biggest misconception when talking about this important topic is the notion that sexual violence is a problem for women to deal with.  In fact, it's quite the opposite.  Most of the time, it is men who cause physical harm to the women in their lives.  (It should be noted that men can sometimes be victim to sexual violence as well, even though it's far less discussed in society).  For example, if a woman is wearing a short skirt, it is not an invitation for a man to sexually force himself onto her.  Our society tends to blame the women in these situations by saying things like 'she shouldn't dress really sexy, she was asking for it'.  However, it is the men who use these as excuses to engage in unaccpetable behavior.  This does not mean that men and women alike shouldn't do everything they can to combat this issue.  It simply means that society overall needs to reevaluate the roles that both men and women play, and find ways to encourage meaningful intervention when difficult situations present themselves.  Please visit http://www.ncadv.org (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) if you or someone you know is in need of immediate assitance.

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