Sexual Assault at Miami: Then and Now

This week I found something that pertained very directly to my topic for this semester. It was actually something that I found really interesting to read as well. This is a newsletter from the Women’s Resource Center, located in Peabody Hall, at Miami of Ohio. It is stated to be Vol. II, No. 1 posted September, 1978. The newsletter starts with a long article about sexual harassment at Miami. Three incidents were listed at the beginning of the newsletter. One being a female student who had her skirt looked up by a male while she was sitting at the library. The next was about a Miami graduate student who was harassed by her professor after she ignored his advances- he then rescinded his letters of recommendation for her. Lastly, a woman staff member at Miami complained about inappropriate behavior coming from her boss, things like inappropriate touching and sexually charged comments. The article then goes on to talk about the resources available for victims, what sexual harassment includes, and there is a section about rape, and how one rape had occurred at Miami in the past few months.

Comparing some of the incidents now, to current incidents that occur at Miami, it seems that things have only gotten increasingly worse. The newsletter talks about how often times the victim does not report and took into consideration that when talking of the statistic that stated that of those who were asked, 88% of them have experienced some form of sexual harassment. I would feel confident in saying that if a similar statistic were reported today, it would be eerily similar if not worse. The newsletter talked about how in the past, women have been quiet about the “sexual harassment” problem but that conversation is starting to pick up and it has begun to be discussed more openly.

In contrasting the sexual harassment conversation at Miami in the late 70s to the sexual harassment conversation at Miami now, it seems it is similar in a scary amount of ways. The conversation is still something mostly carried on by the Women’s Resource Center. Whenever I encounter something about prevention or sexual harassment at Miami it is a piece of educational material by the Women’s Resource Center. In almost 40 years there seems to be a minute change in the conversation about sexual harassment. This fact adds to my argument that there needs to be more prevention education out there that exists and a louder conversation about sexual harassment. I’m sure if I asked some of my guy friends if they have encountered a lot of information about sexual harassment, they would tell me that they haven’t really encountered any information or prevention from their end regarding sexual harassment. This needs to change. I want to dig deeper into the male centered prevention education that exists today and see if there’s something else Miami could be doing; I’m sure I will find plenty that Miami could implement.

Posted 19th October 2016 by Lexi Miller