Tag Archives: education

Jen Spence

I finished night shift and I’m having breakfast at camp. I’m sitting at a table with 4 guys from the crew. I’ve been sharing meals with them for days. 1 guy says when he was 18 yrs old, he slept with a 16 yr old. (Found out later they’ve been married now for 30 yrs or so). Another guy says, “Ooo a 16 yr old, that’d be nice but I’d do 20.” (Meaning he’d spend 20yrs in jail) A couple of the guys laughed, so that guy continues to talk shit. I can’t recall what else he said, because my ptsd is triggered. I refocus and I say, “hey do you know 1 in 3 girls will get harassed and go thru stuff like that?” He just awkwardly laughed and said something like, “ya well.” So I looked him in the eye and said, “do you have any daughters?” He said, “yes I have 3.” I said, “well there ya go. According to statistics one of your daughters will probably get sexually harassed, maybe to the point of rape.” He shakes his head no. I continue and say, “I hate to break the news to you but you better prepare yourself for that happening to one of your daughters”. He looked at me in shock and he got up and left the dining room. Wow, was he upset with me. I know by the look on his face that I got him thinking. I sure hope my education will change his behaviour for the better, so next time when he wants to talk like a pig that he will change his thoughts for the better. Change one’s thoughts, change one’s behaviour. I feel proud for sticking up for myself and all women. Who knows what’s going on in his mind; maybe 1 of his daughters have already been assaulted; maybe he’s assaulted woman or a child before; who knows. I sure hope he grows from this experience into being more mindful when he next speaks about women. A guy at the next table over heard the conversation, who by the way is a good guy, & he looked at me and smiled with pride for what I said. I wish THAT guy that got up and left had stayed because I wanted him to also know that the statistic for guys is 1 in 6. I work with a crew of about 45 guys and I am the only girl. I am 1 in 3. There must be at least 7 guys on his crew that have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives too. May the creator send this guy love and light for hopefully he will become a better man from this point on. I am not going to let him bring me down, because I feel damn proud for my mindful speech and I will continue to have a happy Sunday. 🙏💖


My friend group consists of almost entirely girls, apart from one guy. He’s super nice, and we share common interests, but his male classmates and friends often ask him why the hell he hangs out with girls all the time. As if it’s unthinkable that a boy can hang out with girls. And as if there’s no point hanging out with girls when you can hang out with boys? Me and a couple people in my English class (All boys) were talking, and we got onto the topic of gender. Someone said that there were only two genders: Male and female. I disagreed. he started to argue back, when another person said: There are only two genders: Male and attack helicopter. Women are objects. It was a joke, but not a very funny one. I didn’t say anything. Kids need to be taught from a younger age that everyone, regardless of gender, can do what they wish to. Maybe there’d be less of this in my school.


During the production of an amateur panto, some lifting needed to be done by the children in the cast. The person in charge specifically asked for boy volunteers, even though the kinds were all under 12, and, therefore, there were no differences in strength between the girls and the boys. My own way to counteract this is to get my 4-year old daughter to push the trolley when we’re at the supermarket! She’s not as strong as I would be, obviously, but that it still saves time to have her do something she enjoys, rather than be bored…


I am the youngest member of a senior leadership for a large inner city comprehensive school. The head brought in a consultant to work with the senior team. After my meeting I saw him and the head in the corridor and he said to my head “Ah I met this charming young lady earlier. I never forget a lovely face. What a bright spark – but she is fiery!”. I cannot conceive of a male colleague being described like that.


The Topsy and Tim children stories CD has an episode on firefighters. At one point, they discuss whether women can do it. The answer given is, in substance “yes, but they must be as physically fit as the men”. Credit where it’s due: this makes the point that firefighting is a potential career for women. But there is an insidiously (albeit probably unintentionally) sexist message: that men are the point of reference. A woman applying to be a firefighter will have to prove something more than a man would, namely that she is as good as a man. Furthermore, a male firefighter is completely normal; a female firefighter not somuch. So a woman applying to be a firefighter would be trying to go out of the comfort zone of social norms. Not everyone is a born rebel, so this can deter women. A much better way of presenting this would have been to say that there are physical fitness requirements, which all applicants, regardless of gender (or indeed anything else), have to meet. The difference may sound subtle, but it matters. None of this affects me directly: I am unlikely to ever become a firefighter (or indeed a woman). But my 4 year old daughter has been listening to that story…


During lectures, my Comparative Political Systems professor talks at length about male leaders of different countries, going so far as to list unnecessary personal details about their upbringing and hobbies. The first time he mentioned a woman was last week, more than halfway through the semester. He talked about the wife of one of the political leaders… well, more specifically, he showed a bunch of pictures of her, saying that her clothing demonstrated how that country’s culture is changing. To make matters worse, he kept making comments about how “pretty” she was. I am incredibly frustrated and saddened by this because I generally think that my professor is intelligent and knowledgeable about the material he teaches; however, I’m having trouble reconciling that with this disgusting behavior.


I found a post and shared it on my timeline on facebook, about women witnessing and protecting other women (strangers) in vulnerable situations. Just a basic, look out for your sisters post. It was quite heartfelt and reminded me of several times I have been accosted whilst vulnerable. A male friend of mine, who has previously denounced feminism as a way to divide the sexes and that we should care for all vulnerable people. GRAND. except, feminism is not about dividing, it is about existing, in fairness and the sad fact that we as women still have a long way to go to achieve this. And anyway my post was about vulnerable women, so why try and take the importance of that away,it’s just another way to undermine women and their struggles. This hurt, upset and angered me. But aside from his rude and harmful comments I had been thinking in regard to the post I had shared of all the times i had been placed in a vulnerable position by men, and myself and a friend sat down And actually listed them all out. And what I wrote down shocked and devastated me. These are all the examples and ages that I have been assaulted or accosted in my life (this post does have a point to end with!) 12. Legs felt up, trying to look under my bedsheets at me in my underwear 14. Sexually assaulted 14. Attempted sexual assault 15. Raped 15. Flashed in my school uniform 18. Woken up to being groped while asleep 18/19. Pressured for sex by my boyfriend 1+ year 22. Public sexual assault, reported to police, in the newspaper. Nothing came of it 24. Consistently ogled while getting changed, (walked in ‘by accident’ several times, by close male friend) 30. Followed home down a dark street, by a male on a tram who noticed me three stops before mine, had to hide behind a truck as he searched for me. Stayed awake in my house alone all night terrified. Ages 12-32 verbal sexual harrassment, leers, sexual comments My point is this. I MYSELF had not realised how utterly fucked up this is is. It’s only sitting down and looking at it in black and white that I begin to understand how bad it is when it comes to sexism and what is accepted by society or #everydaysexism, when someone I consider a friend of ten plus years who I thought was a decent person, can come on my post and belittle my experiences and my simple wish that women need to look out for other women in vulnerable or even everyday situations then how far have we still got to go? The answer is VERY FAR. But it starts with or continues with women, feminists and our allies speaking out about this, confronting bad attitudes and outright abuse, sharing our experiences and saying NO I will not stand for this. By educating our children and teaching consent, by calling out the media who use us as sex objects. We must continue the fight. I have blocked and deleted this person and told them in no uncertain terms what they did was wrong and I have no place for it in my life however long our history


A few days ago, there was a protest in my city against rape culture. It had been organized by two high school girls, after an incident involving several high school boys (from an all-boys school), in which they had made frankly terrifying and degrading remarks about certain female teachers at the school along with women in general. I attended this protest, which was held in front of our country’s parliament, as so many are. As you can imagine, there were plenty of members of the press there, along with what I imagine were freelance photographers. It appeared on the news that night, as a main story. Here I am, two days later, seeing online articles being published. And the backlash is just horrifying. The newest headline, and I quote, is “Consent education isn’t an attack on boys”. Which is correct, of course. But even this statement is apparently too harsh, even in light of the events that sparked this protest in the first place. I used to think my country was at least a little more progressive than some, but my faith in my own people is seriously dwindling. I’ve seen grown men whining about how they’re “always going to be the rapist”, when it comes to a drunken encounter with an equally-drunken girl. I’ve seen people claiming that we need to tighten our alcohol laws, bear down more on parents when it comes to responsibility, and every excuse in between. Of course, being sober and having responsible parents didn’t help when I was pinned to that bed, silently weeping and sincerely praying for the first time in my life, that I might get out of that room unhurt. Fuck this world. I can’t deal with it anymore.


One of my son’s favorite books is a cute little board book about toddlers pretending to be superheroes. Of course, all these superheroes are boys. I pulled out my sharpie and changed one page from “he” to “she” so at least there’s one girl represented.


I babysit three children every friday, but I rarely see the older sister, so mostly it’s just two boys. They fight quite often, and almost evrytime, to anger his little brother, the older one would call him “she”, and generally speak to him as if he was a girl, like “oh, she’s afraid !”. It’s not been going on for a long time, but I’m trying to think of a way to make him understand that being a girl should not be an insult.