Sexual harassment needs a new definition

By Jennifer Meyer

Sexual harassment, feared words among college-age women, should now be a feared word among college-age men as well.

This is not only because men are being sexually harassed more, it is because more men, and even women, are being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment these days.

When Anita Hill’s testimony came about in the 1990s, sexual harassment became a hot topic among feminists and the country as a whole.

While this did help many women who were being sexually harassed on the job and at school to speak up, I believe this also gave conspiring, tormented, vengeful, psychopathic women and men another crime other than rape to accuse ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends of in order to feed their wounded egos.

The NIU Law School defines sexual harassment within the educational system as “behavior which emphasizes the sexuality or sexual identity of another individual in a manner which prevents or impairs the victim’s full enjoyment of educational opportunities.”

The American Association of University Women even goes so far as to include bullying and teasing in their definition of sexual harassment.

How is one kid stealing another kid’s lunch money sexual harassment?

The definition of sexual harassment needs to be narrowed down to simpler terms. I believe this would clear up many misunderstandings and wrongful accusations.

According to these definitions, practically everyone has been sexually harassed at one time. For instance, in one of my classes a kid with extraordinarily bad teeth and an ugly face asked me for my number. To get him away from me quickly and without blatantly offending him, I told him my number was 867-5309 and rushed out of the classroom. Yes, I was uncomfortable going back to class because I did not want this guy to talk to me anymore, but does that give me the right to accuse him of sexually harassing me because he thought I was hot? According to many, it does. The extreme opinions of those people could be encouraging power trips among college-age students.

Now, any student looking for a bit of attention can accuse anyone of sexual harassment without any doubt of that accusation. The students who do this are taking away from the seriousness of sexual harassment.

Innocent until proven guilty no longer exists in the minds of the public for men and women accused of sexual harassment. Therefore, the accuser gets what he or she wants, and the accused gets screwed over for life.

If accused of sexual harassment, according to, the accused have privacy rights in which they do not have to discuss. The accused will be informed of exactly what they are being accused of and when and where this supposedly happened. These rights help to protect the accused.

So, because of this new “trend” among students it must no longer be all right to flirt with anyone in class, hug any of your friends (they may be homophobic or think of a friendly hug as a sexual advance).

Though it’s never been all right to beat up another student for his or her books so you can sell them back at the end of the semester, now that person could possibly accuse you of sexually harassing them.

These definitions are far too vague and badly need to be revised in order to make this serious offense serious again.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.