The Spellbinder

Filed under Opinion, Showcase

MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

What+sexual+harassment+feels+like.
Back to Article
Back to Article

MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

What sexual harassment feels like.

What sexual harassment feels like.

Maria Peralta

What sexual harassment feels like.

Maria Peralta

Maria Peralta

What sexual harassment feels like.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Middle College is the ideal school: a close, tight-knit community with friendly teachers, amazing students, and thorough college readiness. It’s the best that Santa Ana has to offer! We get told that it is “like a family” here, and in many ways, it is. Yet, in other ways, it is far from that.

Beneath it all, there is a problem that I and many others have been the victim of: sexual harassment.
You wouldn’t expect this type of behavior from students here. We’re supposed to be “mature,” “kind,” and “responsible,” right? Isn’t that why we got into this school in the first place? Despite that, in a poll of 82 students, 19.4% believe it is a problem, 19.5% have been sexually harassed, and 28% have seen it happen to others, all on campus by another MCHS student. Those numbers may seem a little low, but as low as they may be, any percentage at all is a problem.

I’ve seen it all: rumors, jokes, derogatory names, inappropriate gestures, unwanted sexual advances, and sexual comments. In more severe cases, girls have been hugged to “get a feel of” their breasts, been victims of jokes about being drugged, and have had sensitive information leaked about them. People are reduced to their body parts or the things they’ve done. They’re put on the spot, turned into a laughing stock for others to gawk and ogle at, all at their expense. “Anything and everything gets talked about,” said a student. “They have no limits.” In my experience, I’ve received nicknames over the size of my breasts and gestures that implied sexual acts towards me. I was uncomfortable as if my body had become something that I do not own. I’m not the only one who has experienced something like this. It isn’t even just towards girls; guys can be a victim of sexual harassment, too.

Middle College is the perfect breeding ground for this. It prides itself in being small, but that allows rumors and toxicity to form, spread, and linger more than it would in any other school. Word gets around quick, after all. Everyone knows everyone’s business; if the littlest semblance of drama happens, people will find out one way or another. Once people know about something, it sticks, and they’ll use it against you. It creates not only an environment of “he said, she said,” but also one where anyone who speaks up will be ridiculed.

I’ve been told that I will eventually “get used to” this behavior. I’ve been told that it’s just “boy talk,” “dumb jokes,” or “they don’t mean it,” from both boys AND girls. I’ve heard every justification and excuse on the planet, yet none is enough to justify the damage it does. They cannot hide behind the cover of ignorance. Time and time again, from kinder to now and quite possibly for the rest of their lives, it is going to be drilled into their heads that sexual harassment is wrong, especially in this time and age. They know that how could they not by now? Despite that, for whatever reason, they willfully choose to ignore it.

As wrong as their actions are, in a way aren’t we in part culpable for the things they do? We form bonds with them, laughing along and sitting idly by while they harass others. We normalize this behavior by doing nothing about it and giving them our friendship, allowing them the power to do it. They’re our friends, but a friend or not, we’re at fault for letting it happen by not saying anything. The fact that they’re our friends means nothing; it does not excuse this vile behavior. “We’re all bystanders to this…no one is going to tell on the guy,” said a student.

I want to mention that people like this are not necessarily bad, they just do bad things. What they say and do isn’t exactly thought through. Mob mentality takes them over, blurring their sense of morality. Individually, they’re perfectly fine; it’s when they’re together that this happens. It’s all an elaborate ploy to show off to each other, as if it’s a competition to see who can come up with the edgiest, most out there joke. People become so blinded by their egos and their need to fit in that the victim is left utterly helpless with no choice but to simply take it. “When it happens, the people are in big groups,” a female student said. “It’s hard to reason with them because it’s like talking to a big wall. They don’t take us seriously.”

A question arises from this: what does MCHS do about sexual harassment? “It depends on the severity and level of sexual harassment,” Principal Mr. Voight said. “We can have a talk with those people. If it is ongoing or over various forms of social media and in school, you can look at suspension, and you can look at removal from the school and the program.” In the most severe forms, Voight said that “it would be a call for me to call in the police.” Voight also had something to say to anyone who sexually harassed another person: “Stop…It will not be tolerated here. Rethink how you’re interacting with people. Everything we do here is based on two things: going to college and having a career. Sexual harassment will stop either of those two things from happening.”

If you have the power and bravery to do something about sexual harassment, do it! In the words of Voight: “The number one way to stop harassment is to say something about it.” Change starts with you, no matter how small the gesture is. Stand up for yourself or for others who cannot. You may say it’s not your business, but if it were happening to someone close to you, you wouldn’t be saying that. It’s 100% everybody’s business, because, while it may seem small now, behavior like this can develop into something far more sinister if left unchecked. At the very least, I hope others can become just a little more aware of what problems lie beneath our school.

If you believe I am talking about you, I am. You are the problem.

About the Contributor
Maria Peralta, Staff Writer

Fun Facts:

I love video games! My favorite is Earthbound.
I have a 15-year-old chihuahua named Dulce.
My favorite band is System of a Down.

4 Comments

4 Responses to “MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment”

  1. Miguel Cruz on November 30th, 2018 10:50 am

    Damn. This is wrong in every way.

  2. Jackie on November 30th, 2018 10:55 am

    I think this was beautifully written.

  3. Rocio on November 30th, 2018 11:10 am

    Good job and I really liked how you added the post at the end.

  4. Abril Perez on November 30th, 2018 11:10 am

    I understand that sexual harassment is hard to talk about. I’ve heard that you may experience trauma, shame or anxiety. The numbers that were given shocked me completely. Even though they aren’t big numbers, it is still a number. It may be hard to speak up but in order for there to be a change, we must. In my opinion, consequences at school should not only be suspension or expulsion. There should be some type of treatment or therapy to also help those who do it because if we don’t, that person will go on to his or her next victim.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Opinion

    Natural Disaster Awareness

  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Opinion

    NFL: Owners and Players

  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Columns

    The left, the right, and the middle

  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Opinion

    Controversial Costumes spark Outrage

  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Opinion

    Bohemian Rhapsody: Movie Review

  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Opinion

    How to deal with and overcome Anxiety

  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Opinion

    The Next Generation of Voters

  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Opinion

    Everything wrong with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test

  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Opinion

    Just about done

  • MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment

    Columns

    Selling hope

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College
MCHS’s hidden Issue: sexual Harassment