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Sexual Harassment: It’s Not Okay! #MeToo

We’re shedding some light on sexual harassment, in light of the hashtag campaign #metoo — and you’d be surprised to know Tarana Burke, an activist, started the #metoo movement 10 years ago. According to Tarana, the #metoo movement was founded with the purposes of uniting and aiding women who had been sexually harassed and assaulted but do not have a voice to speak out.

Since the recent uproar of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, actress Rose McGowan was one of the few who had the courage to come forward and speak up of the heinous act of non-consensual sexual assault (rape) that was inflicted upon her.

From then, actress and friend Alyssa Milano took to her twitter to encourage other women to speak up of the sexual harassment that they have had to go through.

But here at #TeamCLEO, as we spoke to each other about sexual harassment, something more insidious came to light.

Somehow, we have all normalised sexual harassment, and this is not okay. 

Most of the comments we received were in the light that they weren’t harassed to the extent of rape, so it’s okay in some way. You know what? No, it’s not okay.

“It was nothing that was too serious or traumatising, I guess, just the usual bum-pinching or cat-calling”.

So, is harassment just a crude comment that is thrown your way when you’re walking down the street or the  butt pinch by a co-worker as you’re leaving the copy room?

The agonising part about this is the fact that it is always assumed that a woman has been sexually harassed. Have you ever typed sexual harassment in Google? This is literally the first thing that pops up.

Note that it says, “typically of a woman”. So, what does this mean? It’s almost like it’s normalised that a woman is to be sexually harassed in her workplace.

“The factors that cause workplace sexual harassment are often inter-related. The way our society socializes between one and another greatly influences their behavior [men and women], given our personalities greatly depend on how we were brought up,” said Associate Professor Dr. Zahari bin Ishak, the Head of Educational Psychology and Counselling, Universiti Malaya.

You don’t have to look so far, turn to the person next to you, ask them if they have ever been sexually harassed. If they have ever felt uncomfortable with a comment someone has made to them.

we open up to tell you our sexual harassment stories. 

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“I was walking out of the lift of my University building one night and did not think that I would ever be sexually harassed (like, why would anyone ever think that?). I stood in the lift with one guy and rode four floors down with him. Just as I made the move to walk off the lift first, he took that opportunity to slap my butt. Shocked and scared, I walked a few paces forward before I turned around and asked him what his problem was. The response I got irks me to this very day, he said and I quote, “sorry babe, couldn’t help myself” all while he licked his lips. I told him that it wasn’t very nice and instead of apologizing, he told me that I shouldn’t have worn pants that were tight and showed off “the goods”.

Was it wrong to wear a hoodie and a pair of jeans to university? Even being covered from head-to-toe got me the totally wrong type of attention.”

– Meghan Angelica Paul, 22, Web Writer

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