Internet Backs Student Who Reported Harasser Despite “Potentially Ruining” His Career

A 20-year-old female college student has taken to Reddit after accusing a male classmate of sexually harassing her. While her school’s administration did punish the alleged harasser in response to the matter, the Redditor is now being criticized by her peers for “taking it too far” and potentially harming his career.

The post has since gone viral on the platform with 12,000 upvotes and over 1,900 comments, the majority of which offer their support to the female student.

The Redditor, known only as u/Anonymous33-, shared her story on the site’s “Am I the A**hole” forum. She began by explaining that she had been “casually talking” with a male classmate, known as “R.”

“He was all friendly at the beginning but started flirting recently,” u/Anonymous33- said. “I never once flirted with him … but last week he asked me out and I said no.”

Two days later, R reportedly texted her to ask her out once again. “I told him that I already said no to which he replied [that] he gave me time to think over and that I should be grateful for it,” u/Anonymous33- wrote.

At that point, she “got pissed and told him to F off.” In response, R allegedly called her “all the names under the moon” and “s*** shamed” her.

u/Anonymous33- then blocked R, but he “made his friends … cuss [her] out too.”

“I got super frustrated and called him out on my story along with attaching the [screenshots] of our chats,” she explained.

Approximately 300 people saw the social media post, including a fourth-year placement mentor who works with the administration to place students in internships. Finding the screenshots “unacceptable and appalling,” the placement mentor reported the male student to the head of his department.

“Apparently in my college, this kind of behavior is labeled as harassment and punishment can lead to suspension,” explained u/Anonymous33-.

“The department head (DH) and placement mentor called me to DH’s office to get my statement … I showed them everything,” she wrote.

As punishment, the alleged harasser “got suspended for [three] months” and lost his spot in a “very good internship” he had lined up.

But the saga apparently didn’t end there. A professor, taking R’s side, asked the u/Anonymous33- to formally forgive him for his behavior—but she refused.

“I was harassed and I [wanted] him punished,” u/Anonymous33- explained.

R’s mother then got involved and “berated” u/Anonymous33-, accusing her of “[leading] on” her son and attempting to sabotage his career. Nonetheless, R received the punishment.

u/Anonymous33- later recalled: “Our internship started and few of my friends said I took it too far. Some of my other classmates called me a bully and [a**hole] for ruining his bright future.”

Additionally, the professor—the one who took R’s side—recently “told [her] that he’s extremely disappointed in [her]” and said that because “of girls like [her], potential careers of men are ruined.”

“This actually made me cry and I’m rethinking whether what [I] did was actually extreme,” u/Anonymous33- concluded.

But readers were quick to support u/Anonymous33-, despite the feelings of her friends and professor.

“Harassment is a serious offense. He should have known better,” wrote u/cat-lover76. “If you’d have let him off the hook, he would have suffered no consequences and learned nothing.”

“NTA. Abusers rely on the silence of their victims. If he didn’t want to get kicked out for harassing other students, he shouldn’t have harassed other students,” echoed u/Ribbon-.

Many more expressed additional outrage at the professor’s role in the saga. According to u/all4hurricanes, the professor is “jeopardizing the safety and careers of women for undeserving men.” They advised: “Maybe discuss it with DH under confidentiality then file formal complaints when you graduate.”

Sexual harassment remains a pressing issue on college campuses in the U.S. and globally. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), “research shows that incidents of sexual harassment and its most extreme form, sexual assault, are shockingly prevalent on college campuses nationwide.” Moreover, “sexual assault disproportionately affects college women, though both men and women are targets of violence on campus.”

The AAUW added that in the U.S., approximately 20 percent of women “are targets of attempted or completed sexual assault” while in college.

The advice of the Reddit community has been useful to u/Anonymous33-, who said that “the feedback has helped … clarify … that what [she] did was right.”

“Harassers like R should get punished and called out,” she added in a message to Newsweek. “His career isn’t worth it when he’s going around abusing women for hurting his male ego and masculinity.”

UCLA
A 20-year-old female college student has taken to Reddit after alleging a male classmate sexually harassed her. Above, a UCLA student walking on campus, 2012.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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