I remember the cooks from when I was at TTS many years ago. Most were older men, retired from the military, men who didn’t have a chance to marry while in the service and were later too old to attract a wife. So they focused on female students instead. At that time, students had to take turns working in the kitchen with these men, and the girls were regularly subjected to groping, leering, and sexual comments. The cooks could do and say whatever they felt like, without any consequences. If a girl wanted to see her boyfriend on the weekend, that was considered a big problem, but older men, men my father’s age, grabbing us was fine. Everybody knew about it. Male students complained because they thought it wasn’t fair that the cooks gave girls extra food along with their sexual attention.
The recent TCV incident was different. This time the cook crossed a line, a big one, from harassment to rape. Most people seem to agree that rape at least is unacceptable. But why do we tolerate behaviors like forced kissing, unwanted touching, and demeaning comments? These also violate women. Anytime a man imposes himself on a women after she says “no” isn’t okay. Let’s not wait for a man to rape someone before he hears that message. When a woman is being harassed, any one of us can speak up, and if we speak up enough, we can start to change these behaviors.