Tag Archives: School

Tara

I am in my final year of secondary school and I have been sexualised far too many times since turning 11. I was 12, queuing up in my school’s canteen when my bum was felt up and slapped. I turned around and called him an inappropriate name but was horrified to discover he was laughing. He was the most popular boy in my year and they clearly thought it was funny to pick on a nerdy girl. No one believed me because he was so popular and attractive and I couldn’t look at him after that. I was disgusted that no one cared.

Tara

As I wrote my previous entry, a boy in the year below picked up my ukulele and started to play it. I told him to put it down and he said ‘Alright! There’s no need to cry, little missy!’

Señora

I am a high school teacher and I currently mentor someone new to the profession. They and I were working in our shared office when a senior administrator (male) came into to talk to my colleague about a student. The administrator mentioned that he had already arranged for one of our (male) colleagues to tutor this student. At this point I perked up because my department has a history of assigning plum tutoring assignments to certain men. I informed him that I was next in line for a tutoring job. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Oh, no. I’ve already chosen Pedro (another colleague in the department) for this job. The student that needs to be tutored is a big guy, and so is Pedro. I want Pedro to teach this student how to be a big man, physically, on campus. He needs to learn how to be a big man.” I was left at a loss for words, so I sat there with my mouth agape. The administrator walked over to me, put his arm around me (we are not close), squeezed, looked at the person I am mentoring, smiled, and said “(my name) didn’t like my gendered comment.” And then he left my office. I reported this exchange to another senior administrator, and was told that “it is being addressed.” I don’t know what that means.

Zack

A lot of people assume that only Women are victims of sexism, and see me as an entitled white guy. I’m treated like I’m brainless and only want to find a relationship so I can have sex. Believe it or not, some people actually just want a kind partner who appreciates them being around.

Melissa or Mahlisa?

My first year in public school, I was seven and loved playing in the field during recess. A boy in my class cornered me when I was alone and pushed me over before shoving his hand down my shirt. I told the teacher on duty and there was a forced apology but he was in my class all year. Every storyline project (where you make up a family/life) he wanted to name is wife after me and the male teacher let him as long as the spelling was different…

Kristen Reed

It had been puzzling to me why I felt a bit depressed this past week. My anger was just below the surface waiting to burst out of the water at the slightest irritation, and I couldn’t sort out why. To my husband I had to blame hormones (which, at my age is definitely part of the cocktail) but there has been something more…an oppressive cloud I refused to acknowledge. The root of my anger comes from years of being traumatized by men in one form or another. I’m too sensitive they say, or too emotional, but after nearly 40 years of self-suppression, it rips holes in one’s skin where steaming geysers form in every direction. Let go of your anger they say. Love is the answer they say… That’s all well and good, but once you let down the barrier of anger what remains is the overwhelming sadness that at every turn nothing has changed. Sure, Harvey Weinstein is getting a public lashing. But he is only one man. One guilty party in the sea of acceptable misogyny, that women all over the world are forced to tolerate with a smile, every single day. It isn’t just Hollywood, or the performing arts in general. Corporate culture, and even our own governments (who think it’s not only their right but their responsibility to control how we take care of our bodies) constantly exacerbate the problem. The urge to vomit out the onerous sorrow impresses upon me from every angle. All I want is one moment’s peace, an exhalation, sanctuary from being constantly on guard. Don’t you think I want to let it down, be free, laugh and smile, dance about when it pleases me? I do it anyway, so much, all the time, but it comes with advances, stares, leers, and uninvited guests. What are we supposed to do? It can seem easier to oversexualize ourselves, where we have the power and control, but the opposite effect arises…bringing the unwanted closer and in turn they feel granted with permission. I feel everything and nothing about this display of public outrage. The rest of these men are wiping their brow, for now, as we slaughter the sacrificial lamb (or wolf) center stage. But this too shall pass, and the lurking shadows will come to life once more, behaving as they have always done. Passing whispers in our ears, indignation if we reject remarks on our beauty, manly chortles when we assert boundaries, or god forbid intelligent ideas. And those are only the mild degradations. I am tired of being angry, sad, and frustrated. All I want to do is lay down my weapons in this fight. But how can I?

Anonymous

My friend was sexually harassed by a boy in our grade who she was friends with, but had no romantic interest in. She is now so uncomfortable walking by him or his friends and is afraid to talk to him. He keeps smiling at her and winking, and she is disgusted.

Anonymous

#metoo 1) Aged 10. In the cloakroom at school on my own. Two traveller boys enter, and unexpectedly start touching my bum. And laughing. That laughter, I still remember that sound. I was scared & embarrassed, and too young & scared to say or do anything. I kept my distance from them for the rest of primary school. 2) Aged 18. Freshers week. Drinking games. Such a cliche, stupidly blind drunk. Hazy blurred memories of being in bed with one of my new ‘friends’, who I don’t recall liking that well, him trying to force his penis inside me, but not being able as I wasn’t even remotely aroused. Him putting it in my mouth instead. Waking the next day to a foul taste & such a sense of shame and guilt. My fault/not my fault? I don’t remember consenting. Or not. Another ‘friend’ shows me a picture later of me being dragged back along the floor of the corridor to my room that night by my arms. I have no clear recollection. The rest of the year, trying to avoid the guy, never telling anyone. But he tells. And his friends start making blow job faces at me whenever they pass by. I feel sick just thinking about it & how stupid I was.