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Monday, December 6, 2021

Opinion

The new sexual misconduct training validates victims


The new sexual misconduct training validates all victims

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

The University’s mandatory sexual misconduct training this year featured a diverse cast of people from many communities including lesbian couples and nonbinary individuals while also shedding light on the harms of toxic masculinity.

This diversity made for good sexual misconduct training that demonstrated support for victims of all backgrounds, showing that abuse can happen to anyone, hopefully validating more victims’ experiences. 

Over the past couple of years, the number of people identifying as part of the LGBTQ community increased from 3.5 percent in 2012 to 4.5 percent, according to a report published by the University of Houston Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality in 2020.

“The video was created in August 2020 in response to new federal Title IX regulations,” said Vice President of the Office of Equal Opportunity Services Toni Sanchez Benoit. “The representation in casting was very intentional to reflect the UH System’s diverse student population as well as our commitment to inclusivity.” 

UH is the second most ethnically diverse major research university in the United States, said the Center of Diversity and Inclusion. With UH’s diverse population, it’s important to make sure students feel heard and represented when it comes to campus resources. 

The Crossroads training was efficient in making sure different situations were explored. 

“(The training) is a lot more supportive of victims asking for help and reporting behavior,” said biomedical sciences freshman Mualla Guvercin. “I liked that they gave unconventional examples so that people don’t invalidate the abuse they go through.” 

A specific couple in the video highlighted how sexual misconduct cases against men are underreported because of strict gender norms and toxic masculinity. In fact, if a man does decide to come forward about his sexual abuse, it takes around thirty years to do so. 

In the video, a man is physically abused by his girlfriend but doesn’t say anything because it’s usually women who are the victim, not men. The example in the Crossroads video is an important reminder that sexual misconduct, or any abuse in general, can happen to anyone regardless of race, gender, class or sexuality. 

With all the different representations in the video, it highlights the importance of not giving in to preconceived notions of who can be a victim and who can be the perpetrator. A lot of people fear they will be judged or dismissed when speaking up about their experiences, but with the increasing conversations regarding sexual misconduct, times are changing.

This training validated the experiences of many victims, not just stereotypes. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual misconduct, there are resources available to you starting with the Title IX office at the University. 

Cindy Rivas Alfaro is a journalism freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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