I was sexually harassed back in 2018 at UWT. I was sexually harassed by 2 men, but mainly one whose name was H____. H____ would follow me around campus, ask me uncomfortable questions (such as where I lived, what bus route I took home, and inferring I had a boob/vagina tattoo when tattoos were brought up). H____ also would randomly offer me food- which made me uncomfortable, as it immediately reminded me of an old man offering a child candy in order to “gain their trust”. I always rejected it. He also would draw dicks in his notes during lectures and loudly talk about it/converse with his friend who also made me extremely uncomfortable. I was 18 at the time- both men who were bothering me were above ages 22 (H____ was 24/25). H____ also invaded my personal space to the point I’d have to sit between his legs during our Digital Logic class or sit in the aisle… I sat in the aisle for about over a month without anyone in the class noticing my discomfort or even caring that I was clearly being harassed/having my personal space EXTREMELY invaded. Compared to those in the class I was still very much a child (18, freshman age for a typical college student). I had video evidence of him invading my space and had shown it to the student advocates– but when I tried to report it they tried to tell me I had simply not set up my boundaries well enough. I already struggled to even report it, thinking I was just being “bitchy” even though this behavior was affecting my ability to study/take notes in class to a great degree…. The advocate said they would, “talk to him about his behavior” but couldn’t do anything else as he, “hadn’t touched me inappropriately yet”…
Skip forward to the next few days of class- I no longer had a lab partner as the man who was harassing me had been my lab partner… I was sitting alone, ready to do my lab by myself. The lab assistant then noticed I was sitting alone- and during his announcements loudly declared (directed at me), “Huh, no one loves you?”. Everyone in the classroom laughed at me– making me feel even more isolated and bullied; which really hurt as I was the only 18 year old in the classroom in a room full of at least 21 year olds. He then proceeded to tell me I can’t do labs alone and I had to partner up with someone– I did, but that whole interaction just made the classroom environment even more hostile for me– I tried to push on with school but I ended up dropping out later due to stress and feeling unwanted/bullied. I felt as though I ended up being punished for speaking out against sexual harassments at UWT- by both other students and the staff… which as a freshman aged student in college I had no idea how to navigate. It didn’t help that I was also being abused at home- leaving me really no place to feel safe.
This sort of thing should not happen at college- I should have had more support. I should not have been bullied for reporting a dude who was sexually harassing me– especially not by someone who was on your UWT staff (teacher’s assistant). A professor should have corrected that behavior. The Professors should have noticed me sitting in the aisle and done something to help before I even had to report it– there were so many things that should have been done that simply were not.
UWT did not offer any kind of support in a hostile environment– I can get competition for education, but the environment I was enduring was sexually charged directed at me by men who honestly were too old to be in my dating pool range anyways– and then when I finally spoke up about it– I ended up being bullied… Neither of those things should have been okay, yet they were and it led to me struggling with studying, even wanting to go to school (I was having panic attacks almost daily about going to class and would run away to hide after each lecture in the women’s bathroom– as to avoid H____ following me around…)– which just added to the pressure and difficulties that already existed in Engineering classes (advanced math/theories). The fact I failed in my classes simply added to the abuse I was enduring at home- as my Father is a Japanese man who only really valued how well I was doing in school… This whole experience honestly ruined education for me, which really sucked because studying before all this went down was one of my favorite activities… and now I struggle to even study anything.
UW needs changes in their structure for how they handle sexual harassment– because how it was handled for me was in no way correct.
Thank you for your time,