Sexual harassment exists – deal with it

2045

YikYak is the worst form of social media. And not because the people who use it are constantly recycling ‘yaks’ over and over again (although this is very annoying!) but because it gives people an anonymous platform to air their views.

Now, firstly I must make it very clear that I do not disagree with people having the right to their own views, and I don’t take issue with anonymity. What I do disagree with is when people use it to openly mock and insult the views of someone else. It is also my own right to disagree with their opinions and air my own, should I think that is the correct thing to do.

Most recently, a comment article was published in SCAN about sexual harassment in the Sugarhouse. It was a very well written article and I’m sure it was difficult for the author to write about some of her and her friends’ personal experiences. She made it very clear that when she referred to the term “sexual harassment” she meant “any unwanted sexual remarks or conduct” and discussed how different forms of sexual harassment are a reality. This article was then met with one of the most ridiculous comments I have ever seen posted on Yik Yak. An anonymous source created a post which said that the content of the article was “one of the worst pieces of writing ever created”.

When asked in the replies why this was the case, the ‘OP’, or Original Poster, said that the article was “scaremongering” when it came to talking about men becoming aggressive towards women who decline offers. As a woman, who regularly attends the Sugarhouse, I feel that I can wholeheartly say that you would be far-stretched to find a woman who hadn’t been sexually harassed in some form or another, or who has experienced aggression when they have declined.

To begin with, the view that the ‘OP’ gives that “Lancaster has to be one of the safest places” and that women should “try going out in a big city environment” is quite frankly disgusting. Is this person seriously suggesting that if there was only one reported sexual harassment case in Lancaster, rather than 500, this is better? I sincerely hope this isn’t the case because sexual harassment of any kind should not be tolerated, even if there are fewer cases in the Sugarhouse than there are in a large Manchester or Birmingham club.

Replies then came requesting the ‘OP’ to send a response into SCAN to give both sides to the story. The ‘OP’ then said that they would happily write an anonymous response because it would “cause half the uni feminists to revolt”. Firstly, I wouldn’t call myself a feminist, I never have, but in this case the ‘OP’ is wrong. The views of this person would, I believe, cause almost all women to become irate. This idea that feminists revolting against a view which degrades them is a bad thing, is one of the reasons that gender inequality exists. And secondly, how dare someone feel that they have the right to mock and slander the views of someone else anonymously without any clear thought for the people that this issue affects. Ironically, there was another response which said that the “only reason OP would want to be anonymous is because people would go out of their way to be dicks to them”, is this not what the ‘OP’ was doing to the author of the article who put her views in the public domain?

Honestly, I don’t care if people have views which conflict with my own. Anyone who knows me knows that I will happily debate about conflicting ideas. In fact, I actually applaud people who are brave enough to stand up to views that they don’t feel are right whether I agree with them or not. Really though, this ‘yak’ shows that sadly, even though it is 2016, some people cannot accept the fact that there are issues of sexual harassment and that they need to be tackled forthwith.

Maybe calling YikYak the worst form of social media might have been a little bit of an over-exaggeration. Perhaps what I meant to say was: the people who are too blind to accept that there are issues, because it simply doesn’t affect them or because they don’t care, are the worst form of people.