Truth Has Power: Spreading Social Awareness of Sexual Harassment


Yasmeen Persaud

Teen Vogue Editor Lauren Duca speaks at the Baruch College Journalism Conference on November 3

Sexual Harassment has always been the elephant in the room. Everyone knows about it, but people rarely take the initiative to discuss it. 2017 has indeed brought a fair share of our society projecting their voices on the issue.  From political propaganda to social issues, our generation is not afraid to contend with the first amendment.

It was no surprise that the allegations this month against Hollywood Executive Harvey Weinstein has caused a major uproar in the social atmosphere, especially hitting close to home.

“A lot of people in Hollywood feel like if they have some sort of power or wealth, they can get away with anything,” an anonymous student said.  “I have experienced it personally. I was sexually harassed by my best friend at another school. In the moment I felt really powerless but I realized I could do something about this.”

Many women have started bringing depth to the situation after Weinstein’s allegations. Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano inspired the hashtag #MeToo on Twitter, encouraging women to enforce unity and illustrate that there are many out there who have experienced harassment. With this hashtag, women can begin erasing the blurred lines. 

The debate continues to grow between genders being affected. Hollywood actor Terry Crews, in a span of multiple tweets, discussed his unfortunate experience with a Hollywood executive.

“I believe anyone can get harassed,” junior Jennifer Hernandez said.  “It shouldn’t be all about women. Men should speak up [as well].”

I had the incredible opportunity to speak with Teen Vogue Editor Lauren Duca at Baruch College on November 3. A victim of harassment, Duca described her experiences in the industry dealing with those who pressured her into silence. She described Twitter as a breeding ground for conversation and mentioned that many people were targeting her through verbal abuse, but she would not “shut up” and allow people to stop her from doing what she loves: Broadcasting her voice. A true pioneer of confidence, feminism, and political experience, Duca delivers to our generation and beyond.

“I hope that the future of feminism online is about women sharing stories, whether they’re about sexual assault or more trivial mundane experiences of everyday sexism,” Duca passionately stated. “I think those things are so robbed of national conversation and we have so many men making decisions in the newsroom and in the White House that have no understanding of the female experience.”

As a school heavily involved in respecting a diversity of beliefs, Francis Lewis should embrace the intolerance of sexual harassment and remind students that they have a voice. Staying silent not only hurts the person, but the community as well.

What can our school do to combat harassment? It is imperative to spread conversation. Never be pressured into silence and be active in observation. Stand up for what’s right not only for yourself, but for those around you. You could change a life.