By Stephanie Guevara
No one in the East Los Angeles College community should have to experience any form of harassment like I did.
Students and faculty shouldn’t have to worry, when being on campus, of anyone trying to harass them. This didn’t worry me until I was harassed by an unknown individual, near the Vincent Price Art Museum last Wednesday.
This individual was wandering around campus and seemed to want to start conversations with any woman he came across. I happened to be the first one he came across. He not only followed me to wherever I was going, but he hugged and kissed my neck without my consent.
As he got close to me, I heard him call me sexy which instantly creeped me out. That is when I realized that I was prone to harassment even on campus. ELAC should be a safe zone for every student, faculty member and visitor.
In my case, this certain individual didn’t touch my genitals, but he did call me sexy and groped on me. This not only made me feel uncomfortable, but it made me feel disgusted. If anyone on campus experiences harassment, they should report the incident immediately.
According to deputy Alejandro Tiscareño from the ELAC sheriff’s station there haven’t been any reports on this matter.
However, I am sure I haven’t been the only person to experience this before on campus. No student should feel scared, intimidated or embarrassed to report such aggression.
If we don’t report, we also can’t be helped. Students’ concerns hold a great impact at ELAC, but if they aren’t heard, there isn’t much that can be done to aid those people. Tiscareño said my case is considered battery.
“If it’s sexual assault it would be touching on sexual parts of the body. If it’s a hug or kiss on cheek, it’ll be considered battery,” Tiscareño said.
According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
Board member of the East Los Angeles Women’s center and founder of the ELAC Sexual Assault Awareness Violence Education Team Marilyn Ladd said that the moment a person makes you feel uncomfortable with an inappropriate sexual action, it is sexual harassment.
“When you feel creeped out by the action of another person, that to me is harassment,” Ladd said.
A person doesn’t have to necessarily touch our genitals for it to be considered harassment. The moment someone makes you feel creeped out or uncomfortable, it is sexual harassment.
These types of actions should be stopped at ELAC. We can put a stop to this by voicing out our experience. At ELAC there are various resources to attend for help.
The ELAC women’s and men’s center located in F5-315 is open for any student to attend and help will be give. If you see something, say something! Don’t let yourself go unheard and allow these acts to just go unnoticed.
Your voice matters and people around you will understand your circumstances and aid you if you have been a victim of discrimination.