It’s dark outside; only one light to fight against the shadows. Tessa Washburn sits in her room, oblivious that something — no, someone — is looking for her. There is a knock on the door and she answers it. There stands her worst fear: a desperate “nice” guy.
Sadly, this is how it can feel dealing with a harasser — scary and unsettling.
“It feels like he is everywhere,” said Washburn, a freshman majoring in general studies. “Every time I see a guy with brown hair, my blood runs cold. I can’t breathe because I am worried it’s him.”
In situations like this, the best to do is to know your options. Tell that person their behavior is not ok, and if necessary, report them.
Another good thing to know is it isn’t your fault. Just because you went on a date or texted a person, it does not mean you’ve led them on. If they are harassing you, you should not let them use your kindness to justify their inappropriate behavior.
It’s on them to understand social cues and that no means no.
That also means that as adults, we should be able to understand when our behavior is inappropriate.
If you feel a connection to someone, that is perfectly normal. If you want to flirt with someone, with their consent, that is ok as well.
What isn’t ok is to pester someone to the point they are scared of you. If you feel your behavior is not ok, then ask someone or consult the person.
You can send them a text or ask yourself the following: If someone was acting this way towards your brother, sister or you, would you be fine with that?
Remember, being nice does not entitle you to anything. Being nice to someone does not instantly qualify you for that person’s affection. You should be nice just because you are a nice person, not because you are looking to gain something.
The most important things for a person to learn, when it comes to relationships, are discipline, respect and patience.
If you can’t show these qualities while dating, you have no right to be in a relationship.
We should also consult our friends and let them know when their behavior is not ok. Sometimes, we have to be the voice of reason because our friends do not understand what they are doing is not appropriate.
When our friends approach us with their romantic plight, we have to think of the other person.
Would we be ok if someone treated us the way our friend treated that person? If not, then that is your time to speak up.
If we stand by and do nothing, then we are just as guilty.
We as students and as decent human beings have a responsibility to help those around us. That includes defending those that feel like they are being harassed.
If we can’t do that, what are we good for?