Women Like You



By Alejandra Anias, Online-Editor-In-Chief

Growing up, girls were taught to stay put, not draw attention onto themselves, dress well and show no cleavage if they didn’t want a man to approach them, because, if he did, it would be the girl’s fault for provoking him.

“You’re asking for it”, “What were you wearing?”, “Were you drunk?”, “Was is it really harassment or are you just exaggerating?”, “Did he touch you though?” These and many more are the questions frequently asked to women after they report an act of sexual harassment or rape. As this controversial issue continues to go on, some people do not realize that society still clings on to the archaic concept that women have no other purpose than that of procreating. However, some women remain no longer in silence, and have already begun their fight against sexual harassment.

Unseen threats   

When victims are first abused at an early age, they often don’t know or understand what’s going on. They mostly only feel that something odd is going on, but they’re too young to recognize it. A female junior at Hialeah Gardens High School said that because she was too young when she encountered her first sexual abuse, she didn’t know what to do or whether there was something to do at all.

She said, “I was a victim of sexual harassment when I was not even 5 years old. There was this kid, in his early 14, and he was my neighbor at that time. We used to play a lot, but there was a moment when things turned a little bit strange. I was too young to even understand what was going on, but even then, I knew that something was not OK. Before we started playing, he’d demand some weird game. He wanted to rub his nipples with mine, placing our bodies together and moving them in a strange way. Obviously, nobody knew about that, and until today only two people do know about this, and none of them are my family. Fortunately, he moved to Mexico when I was still young enough. Even then I was still confused about that situation, but I can remember very well the awkward feeling. Until today it does affect me in a way, I’d prefer to keep it private.”


Complete disregard  

   What a lot of people who haven’t faced sexual harassment don’t know is that it doesn’t only happen when you’re young, and it doesn’t really depend on the kind of clothes you’re wearing, because it could happen to anyone. Miami High senior Jael Verdera, 19 years old, says that she has experienced sexual harassment many times, regardless of what she’s wearing or whom she’s with.

She said, “Twice a week I go to a park to run with my dad. There are many people there for different reasons, like the three men I will be speaking about today. These three older men around their 40’s walk around the park to either exercise or seem as if they are. I had seen one of the before staring at girl so hard I was disgusted. They usually stare at me, even though I’m with my dad who is a strong looking man. My dad felt like they were disrespecting him as well, but I didn’t want to cause any problems for us, so I always try to calm him down. One day the park had less people than it usually does, which means it was darker as well. These three men stopped to act like they were working out, while one of them passed by my side really close to just stand behind me and stare, when there was not enough space to do that. My dad who is a very peaceful man, almost lost it and I’ve never felt more scared. My mom told us to go to another park, but why should I move because of three imbeciles? Why should I be the one to change? And what would have happened if my dad wasn’t there?”


For some men, their actions hold no disrespect or abuse, as they believe they’re doing what any man would do in their place given the chance; so, they don’t see it as an offense or misbehavior to take advantage of a woman.

One anonymous female, a college junior, said, “I have met men that could not deal with women their age, so they ask out women who are a lot younger than them and they think it’s ok. I’ve met men that see no harm in getting a female drunk so they can have coitus. Men that manipulate women to do sexual favors in order to get something in return, even if they have to blackmail them. A lot of people think that those situations are pretty normal.”



According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Nearly 1 in 5 women have experienced complete or attempted rape during their lifetime”; but even those who haven’t encountered rape feel the rage of having to stay alert for the minimum detail that can lead a predator to make them the target.

It is often seen in social media posts how women are given tips or instructions of how to wear their hair or clothing if they want to avoid a harasser to make them a target. But why should women be educated to dress and style in a certain way, but many men can’t even control their sexual drive?

Miami High junior Ashley Sirias, 17 years old, said, “I honestly feel disgusted, but it also brings me strength and motivation to defend myself and help others the best way I can. I haven’t been a victim of rape, thankfully, but I have been harassed many times and it feels awful when they do it in such a creepy way, when they try to get close to you and tell you all these nasty things. It’s not OK to do anything like that, and most of the time they say that it’s because of how we females dress, and I’m extremely sorry, but I can’t and won’t take that as an excuse for everything wrong they do.”

What if? 

Some victims of sexual harassment have also said that they were lucky enough to have been helped in a moment of urgency, and that, if it hadn’t been for those who helped them, they’d be totally different people today.

One anonymous female junior at Miami Senior High said, “If someone had not been there for me that night, what would’ve happened? I remember that while I was running away from this man at night, I was out of breath and couldn’t even feel my legs anymore. All my eyes were seeing was the closest gas station three blocks away. Had I not been young or strong enough, I wouldn’t have made it on time to call someone to pick me up, because no matter how fast I ran, the man got there two minutes after I arrived. The cashiers were kind enough to notice what was going on, so they helped me get the address of the gas station so I could pass it forward to my ride. But what would’ve happened if there had been no one to help me, no gas station or no strength in my legs?”


School involvement 

    As students enter high school and the pubertal time of their life, they start to develop different moods, characteristics, changes (both hormonal and physical), among others. Therefore, it is important to include a certain education level or class in order to teach them about the changes they’re going through and other aspects of life such as sexual harassment and others.

Science teacher Ms. Pomareda says that a way in which more awareness could be brought into the school environment could be through programs included in science or English classes, in which students could have debates and have conversations about different topics such as sexual harassment, bullying, and others. She added that these debates could take place once a month or once-twice every nine weeks, and that “it would be a long-term solution.”

English teacher Ms. Anderson agreed that the best solution to bring more awareness into schools was to have “more open conversations” with students about these kinds of topics.

Miami Dade Schools measures

   According to the Discrimination/Harassment: Complaint procedures for employees. Procedures for assurance of compliance with federal/state regulations/school board policies of nondiscrimination/harassment in employment sexual harassment and discrimination protocols to follow by the county of Miami Dade, there are certain measures to take after a case of sexual harassment has been reported to an employee of Miami Dade schools.

“It is recognized that discrimination or harassment complaints by employees may arise from actual or perceived situations and circumstances related to the prohibition of discrimination. It is the intent of these procedures to assure that discrimination or harassment complaints are resolved in an expeditious, orderly, and equitable manner that serves to fulfill the letter and intent of the law. All administrators and principals are required to make a conscientious effort to fully consider and understand the nature and basis of the discrimination or harassment complaint of an employee and resolve it, to the satisfaction of the complainant, without delay or refer it, without delay, to the appropriate office for resolution. The initiation of a discrimination or harassment complaint by an employee will not be used as a basis for actions that adversely affect the complainants standing in his/her work location. Additionally, participation in or assistance in the investigation of a complaint shall not to be used as the basis for any adverse employment action on an employee.

Response from the public  

   Yet even though there are protocols to follow and measures to take after a sexual harassment or rape scenario has taken place, many agree that there should be methods to prevent this kind of scenario from happening in the first place.


An anonymous female sophomore from Miami Senior High said, “Schools and teachers should talk about it (sexual harassment and rape) so they can teach [men] on how to control themselves and take a no for an answer instead of dress coding girls and telling them to avoid getting raped.”

An anonymous female, a Miami High graduate said, “Schools and teachers should make an effort to talk about this topic. If people don’t talk about it, how will there ever be change? Schools and teachers should teach boys to respect girls and the boundaries that they place. There could be segments that the school organizes to talk about the topic and encourage students to learn about it in order to make the world a safer place. It is best to teach students when they are developing young adults in order to ‘normalize’ safe behaviors and reduce counts of rape now and in the future.”


“I am over how long it seems to take anyone to even respond to rape. I am over the hundreds of thousands of women in Congo still waiting for the rapes to end and the rapists to be held accountable. I am over the thousands of women in Bosnia, Burma, Pakistan, South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, you name a place, still waiting for justice.”

By Eve Ensler in “The Vagina Monologue”