Students at Valencia Learn About Sexual Harassment


Amy Pietri-Ortiz & J.P Lopez , Contributing Writers

Valencia College Osceola Campus along with the Victim Service Center of Central Florida held a workshop discussing sexual harassment. The one-hour workshop, with about 15 students, was held on February 28 and taught students the importance of understanding how sexual harassment occurs, and how to help survivors cope after traumatic events.

According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, every 98 seconds someone is assaulted, and the majority of sexual assault victims are under 30 years old. The event speaker, Joshua Proffit a member of the Victim Service Center of Central Florida, explained to the students the importance of consent and how it should be established. “I would like men and women to be more educated about the topic, and to be aware that this can happen to anyone and we should know how to react and how to help others,” he said. Proffit then explained that “consent is key” and that it should always be continual, mutual, enthusiastic, sober, freely, conscious, clear and informed.

The workshop also went into depth about rape culture. Rape culture is the glamorization of sexual violence, use of misogynistic language, and the objectification of people. Two to 10 percent of rape cases are falsely reported, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. RAINN also reports that approximately seven out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Examples are cases of intimate partner sexual violence or acquaintance rape. The workshop also provided guidance on how to combat rape culture efficiently. It taught students to always be accountable, to speak out if someone is making offensive jokes, to avoid objectifying, to stop slut shaming, to always intervene to help others and always remember the meaning of consent.

Nancy Vitanza, education major and survivor, shared how she was only 17 years old when she was sexually assaulted and that nothing that she wore, or said gave consent to her abuser. She explained one of the best things she gained out of the workshop .

“The knowledge on how to look for the characteristic in people and seeing something that potentially could help them in the aftermath,” said Vitanza. She continued, “Somebody standing up for themselves and actually saying something, or even defending or being there for a person because it’s the aftermath I think it’s the most difficult thing.”

There are many resources available for victims of assault or rape. However, it is always important to remember to first seek safety, tell someone, and get support. The Confidential Hotline for Sexual Assault Victims is available 24 hours at 407-497-6701.