Standing up to sexual harassment

LTEWEB letter

Dear Editor:

When I was a 25 year-old college student back in the 1970s, attending a college that was not Towson University, I was very badly sexually harassed by a female college professor who had a lot of power over me.

But that is not what I want this letter to be about. I want to share what I have learned from the experience with all present, past and future victims and survivors of sexual harassment so that they will feel better about themselves than they may feel now, and so that they will, I hope, feel less inner-pain and inner-hurt than they may feel now. I have been there.

I want people to know that it is vitally important to immediately report your sexual harasser to people in positions of authority so that this predator will never prey upon anyone else in the future.  I deeply regret that I did not do this. Please do not make the same mistake that I did.

In addition, I am telling you with total certainty that it was not your fault that you were or are being sexually harassed. You did not do anything to bring this predatory behavior about or to encourage it. Do not blame yourself for it.

Also, speaking as a former alcoholism, drug addiction, mental health, and marriage and family therapist, I want you to seek counseling/therapy if you feel you can benefit from it, but try not to wallow in self-pity forever.

Please do not give the harasser this much power over you. Instead, do whatever you need to do to feel better, but also be a positive force for good in society and in the lives of others. Use your voice to make positive contributions to society. If you do this, you will win and the harasser will lose.

Sincerely,

Stewart Epstein

Former Towson University sociology professor 

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