Professor shares perception and insight on sexual misconduct

+On+Oct.+4+in+the+Cross+Cultural+Center%2C+Dr.+Susie+Lan+Cassel%2C+professor+of+Literature+and+Writing%2C+facilitates+a+conversation+about+working+with+men+and+the+%23Metoo+movement.%0A+++%0A
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Professor shares perception and insight on sexual misconduct

 On Oct. 4 in the Cross Cultural Center, Dr. Susie Lan Cassel, professor of Literature and Writing, facilitates a conversation about working with men and the #Metoo movement.

On Oct. 4 in the Cross Cultural Center, Dr. Susie Lan Cassel, professor of Literature and Writing, facilitates a conversation about working with men and the #Metoo movement.

Photo by Angelica Peña

On Oct. 4 in the Cross Cultural Center, Dr. Susie Lan Cassel, professor of Literature and Writing, facilitates a conversation about working with men and the #Metoo movement.

Photo by Angelica Peña

Photo by Angelica Peña

On Oct. 4 in the Cross Cultural Center, Dr. Susie Lan Cassel, professor of Literature and Writing, facilitates a conversation about working with men and the #Metoo movement.

Antonio Pequeño IV, News Editor

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Dr. Susie Lan Cassel has been a victim of stalking and sexual violence.

Her warning to others: Don’t wait to take action.

At an installment of “Tukwut Talks: Conversations with Faculty” hosted by the Cross-Cultural Center on Oct. 4, Cassel, a professor of Literature and Writing Studies spoke about being stalked by an instructor while enrolled in USC’s Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

In 1987, Cassel was nominated for (and won) the Air Force Cadet of the Year award by her senior ROTC
instructor, who seemed to be showing an undue personal interest in her. After Cassel left for the master’s program at Harvard University, the instructor, who was married at the time, continued to cal land send letters which were ignored by Cassel. Cassel moved to Riverside and realized that the instructor was stalking her. She purchased a weapon and filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Air Force. The instructor was forced to retire, but the stalking continued.

Ultimately, Cassel obtained a restraining order against the man. “I think the lesson that I have from that which I would like to share is [that] I waited way too long … The minute he got a phone number or an address that I didn’t give him, I should have taken much stronger action,” said Cassel.

“It’s hard but you have to stop it earlier, and if there are other women that you know are involved, it’s in your interest and their interest to ally, so that you have a clearer case against [the perpetrator],” she said.

Cassel also told about a time when she was assaulted while walking home from a summer intersession class at SDSU. A man followed her, grabbed her and threw her behind a bush before attempting to take off her pants. Cassel screamed and caught somebody’s attention which provoked the perpetrator to run away.

Cassel said she tried her best to brush off what happened before attending a meeting  she was on her way to. “So I sit through the meeting and I have no idea what  happened. Not a single idea,” she said. “I was upset but in my head I was like, ‘I’m cool. I’m good. He didn’t hurt me, he was just trying to fool with me,’ but my girlfriend said I had to report it.”

Cassel said it took her a few days to report it because the incident had festered in her mind.She reported it to the campus police, but the officer that she went to wasn’t helpful.

“If you do report, try to geta female officer or somebody who you feel comfortable speaking to … because they can help you get the details straight,” said Cassell. She addressed the critical point that the #MeToo movement is currently in with the sexual assault allegations put towards newly appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.“We’re seeing the impact on victims decades later and that matters. I think it’s phenomenally important that we’re beginning to look at the way mostly, but not al-ways, men’s behavior has impacted women,” said Cassel.

CSUSM’s Student Healthand Counseling Services provides counseling aid to victims of sexual misconduct. More information and access to 24/7 hotlines can be found at https://www.csusm.edu/stars/issues/sexualassault.html.

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