An unsolicited nude will not make me come over. Please know this.
I think that most people can agree that sexual harassment happens way too frequently. So many of my friends often just write off unsolicited dick pictures and hide their feelings of discomfort. I have received too many pictures from men that I have not wanted to see. I have often felt immense pressure to respond or coerced into sending a picture back. Not until recently, have I choked up these pictures to sexual harassment. I never reply to unsolicited pictures now and I usually block the sender. I try to keep my head up whenever I see a sender around, but the other day I found myself feeling uncomfortable around a former sexual harasser. It was not because of his presence but instead because he is now dating a woman that I have known since freshman year.
I met the man who harassed me through a mutual friend. I didn’t think anything of his contacting me at first. It was somewhat flirty. He asked me on a date, but I politely denied. All of a sudden, his messages to me became sexually explicit. Messages turned into Snapchats and it began to get dicey. He would send me pictures of his erect penis every day. It was excessive. I was overwhelmed, but I tried to make light of the situation to my friends. My best friend pressured me into feeling complimented by this man’s willingness to send me a nude picture. I didn’t have warm and fuzzy feelings– I did not want these Snapchats. He constantly messaged me saying he wanted me to come to his apartment. Every day, I would get a Snapchat message simply saying, “come over”. I sometimes didn’t answer but more often than not, I would. I’d just say “I’m in class” or “no”.
He never got the memo. He kept messaging me. I always thought I had to answer. I really should have just blocked him. One day he just stopped sending pictures of himself and I went through my day without that feeling of unease. It took me a little bit to recognize why I was feeling better. It was obviously because this random acquaintance of mine was no longer sending me penis shots. A few weeks later, I found out that he was dating a girl I have always been fond of.
As a rising senior, I have known this girl for several years. We have had classes together and she is so sweet, is absolutely hilarious, and cares a lot about social issues that plague our community. We have a lot in common. I have always admired her for the passion she has for others. I was utterly shocked to hear that she was dating someone whom I considered to be a complete asshole. How can someone so kind be with someone who just tried to get me to have sex with him with pictures of his dick?
This discovery threw me into a tailspin. Do I tell her? Does she know? What do I do? I never told her. I just couldn’t bring myself to inject myself into the life and relationship of a woman I just casually know. Whenever I see either of them though, I do feel pangs of guilt and waves of discomfort.
I don’t think that I could ever tell her what her boyfriend did. It may just be because I am afraid she will just write it off as just a minor thing but also because I am petrified of his retribution. I really don’t know how to approach the whole situation, but I do know that sexual harassment is often overlooked on college campuses. We all freak out when someone famous is a sexual harasser, like Bill O’Reilly or Mr. President Trump, yet we tend to overlook smaller cases of sexual harassment that happen on a daily basis.
People need to stop sending unsolicited nudes. It is very hard for me to understand why anyone sends pictures of themselves in an attempt to get the receivers in bed. Also, it is another problem that senders will sometimes pressure the receiver into sending a similarly styled picture back. This has always been the worst part for me. I used to be a very weak person, always putting someone else’s wants in front of mine– yes, even in the case of strangers asking for nudes.
Sending nudes is dangerous and if they are unsolicited, they are considered sexual harassment. I just want people to recognize that they 1) shouldn’t send compromising images of themselves to people if it makes them uncomfortable, and 2) have the power to end the cycle. By blocking my former sexual harasser, a weight was lifted off of me. I gained more control over this awful situation.
For those who do not feel that they cannot shake their sexual harasser off, contact Public Safety or the NYPD. Title XI protects students from sexual harassment and requires university admins to conduct an investigation.