Wait This Isn’t Normal?
Prior to this past year, my view on how gender-based violence and sexual harassment functioned in society was somewhat skewed. Though I never doubted the prevalence or ramifications these forms of gender discrimination posed on women, I did not view it as something that affected me personally.
The actions I took to keep myself safe, as an eighteen year old girl, felt insignificant in comparison to the stories of gender-based violence I would hear about on the news. Traveling in pairs to public bathrooms, running only in daylight, and locking car doors immediately upon getting in the driver’s seat felt like second nature. Cat calls and unwanted approaches by older men when I was still underage were nothing out of the ordinary. And yet, sexual harassment to me still seemed so abstract, not something I tried to protect myself against daily.
It is truly heartbreaking for myself and women across the world that we are forced to look over our shoulders just as often as we brush our teeth. These precautionary measures are so ingrained into our lives, yet even with them, it is still extremely unlikely that a women remains unscathed from sexual harassment.
A study conducted by U.N. Women found that approximately 97% of women between the ages of 18-24 experience some form of sexual harassment in public places. This study, along with the disappearance and death of Sarah Evard on March 3, sparked yet another Tik Tok trend that gained over 8.2 million views within a few weeks.
Referred to as the “97 Percent” trend, this crusade was monumental in granting a platform for girls and women to discuss their experiences and raise awareness about female sexual harassment. In a similar fashion to the #MeToo movement, the “97 Percent” trend strengthened the understanding of the extent of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination and how they take on various forms.
It goes without saying that the issues of gender-based violence and sexual harassment include the extremely horrific stories presented in media. However, it must be understood that these forms of gender discrimination are also rooted in everday life, and should also be treated with the utmost importance.
LiveYourDream.org has asked us all to imagine a world in which gender discrimination has been eradicated. The organization has been working towards helping women gain access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. I now ask if you will join us in fighting to make this world a reality.
Taking the First Step: Raising Awareness of the Issue
One of the most effective places begin to combat sexual harassment and gender-based violence is in raising awareness of the issue. It is an unfortunate reality that many people still chose to belittle the horrific experiences of victims or even outright refuse to believe them. Raising awareness of the issue through social media and presenting statistics can aid in drowning out the noise of antagonists.
LiveYourDream.org has organized an opportunity for you to easily raise awareness on the issues of gender-based violence through the platforms of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To access the ready-to-share infographics, please follow these three steps:
- Go to their website liveyourdream.org and select the “Take Action” menu
- Choose the “Raise Awareness About Violence Against Women” option located in the first row of involvement opportunities
- Access the infographics by entering your email address and name when prompted
Posting these infographics to your social media accounts is a simple yet incredibly beneficial way to spread the message about the severity of gender-based discrimination. It is our duty to speak up for those who may not be able to themselves, and stand with the victims who were able to share their stories.
How else can I support survivors?|
If helping survivors of abuse back on their feet is something you’re passionate about, petition your senators to sign the Violence Against Women Act
Caleigh Trauger is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Public and Professional Writing and minoring in Public Service. She is committed to helping to increase economic and educational opportunities for women across the globe.