By Delilah Perez
Pulse Staff Reporter
Victims of sexual harassment are now speaking up about their personal experiences, no longer keeping their stories silent. Palo Alto College held an event on March 28 that explored the #MeToo movement during Women’s History Month.
This movement began through the efforts of many women speaking up against sexual harassment and the more than 70 men who were behind these actions, such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose and Ewan McGregor.
These women also wanted to bring awareness to the issue for anyone who is dealing with domestic violence or harassment.
“We have the right to speak out as women,” said Judith Menchaca, administrative assistant for Student Life.
Sexual harassment was not spoken about in public until a woman named Anita Hill accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of harassment in 1991. Hill accused Thomas of making inappropriate remarks and making her feel uncomfortable while they worked together.
Student Life and the Women’s History Month committee put together the event to let students know that they are not alone in these kinds of situations and where they should go to get help.
A detective, family attorney, police officer and PAC corporal spoke at the #MeToo event attended by approximately 60 people.
These women were asked questions about how they handle sexual harassment and domestic violence situations. What are their challenges? How do they define sexual harassment and discrimination? They have seen an increase in reports and more women are speaking up.
“It’s good for individuals to know their rights in every avenue, by educating yourself. You’re increasing your power in a situation because you wouldn’t know if something is violating your rights unless you knew them,” said Erica Muñoz, Student Success coordinator.
Muñoz said educating yourself on your rights is empowering. It is a women’s right to learn their rights, not only in the law, but in everything they do.
She emphasized that it may not even be your rights that are being violated, but it can also be good to educate yourself on what is right. If someone has the same qualifications as you, but you are being treated differently, you have to take a stand for yourself.
Here at PAC, students are encouraged to say something if they see something. Sexual harassment doesn’t have to happen to just yourself. It can involve other students or staff members.
Tyler Archer is the PAC Student Conduct Officer. She works with student conduct with Title IX, which is the sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender discrimination law. Archer also works with strategies of behavioral intervention. Title IX’s definition: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
“If a student comes to me to report an instance of Title IX, I always let them know that they are in control of the situation and where it goes from there. I let them know kind of what their options are and what the policies are,” said Archer.
For more information about what to do in a sexual harassment, assault or gender discrimination event, contact Tyler Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her office is in the Student Center, Room 101A.