If we say no: stories of sexual harassment in our local schools

My name is Claire and I am Alison for the purposes of this blog post. Both of us are school pupils and attend academies in the Folkestone & Hythe District. Both of us have and continue to be sexually harassed, we do so in the context of pupil on pupil sexual harassment.

Mon to Friday we receive sexual comments, such as boys huddled together telling sexual stories of their prowess over the weekend, very loudly. They make lewd and unwelcome sexual remarks about our breasts, legs, faces, hair, our clothes and our appearance. At 15 and 16 years old, we have been called “slags”,  “whores” and  “bitches” and plenty of other crude names. We have been taunted for not doing what some boys want. This is our and many other girls daily reality, Monday to Friday 

To receive such unwanted comments and behaviour from such immature boys, is damaging and wearing. It plays with your head.

But it doesn’t stop there. We are a generation who have grown up with online sexual harassment  and unwanted sexual comments and messages,  especially on social media. We have both suffered threats to do things or else.

And before you say have we reported it, of course we have. Raised it with our form teacher and other staff within the school, but they are powerless to prevent unwanted social media advances.

Little is done as it is so often our word against theirs.  We fear going to school some days and it really should NOT be like this, but it is. Our mums have intervened as have our dads, but we were reluctant to tell them initially. Scared to talk to our own parents, is that normal? No of course it is not.

So today Monday, we will set off to our respective schools, to no doubt hear more unwelcome and unwanted comments and yes we’ll report them, but as we said little if anything will be done.

We are grateful to the Shepwayvox Team for allowing us to use their platform to raise this issue. We have written to the local newspapers, but they have chosen not to raise this issue which is important to all teenagers boys and girls.

If our schools cannot educate the perpetrators of sexual harassment to stop now, then we are quite certain they will continue with their behaviour on into the workplace.  This is not a welcome thought, but it is a reality. 

We – Claire and I, ask all schools and all heads to become  more aware of this issue in schools. There are many of us who today need support and we hope our schools will begin to give it to us.

A Guest Blog Post – The Shepwayvox Team

Dissent is NOT  a Crime

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9 Comments on If we say no: stories of sexual harassment in our local schools

  1. Impotence in the face of online and. personal harassment seems endemic. Anyone who pops his head above the parapet and speaks out gets jumped upon while the perpetrators, even when known, walk away laughing. Anyone who doubts the pain that Claire and Alison experience daily needs to think again. Then think about the future citizens of this country that these bullies will become.

  2. If you tell certain teachers at our school, nothing gets down at all. In fact some of teachers are just as scared of the boys as we girls are. Reality.

  3. A Headteacher's experience // January 21, 2019 at 12:22 // Reply

    As a headteacher of a local school I am not shocked by Claire & Alison’s experience.

    Boy on Boy, Girl on Girl and Girl on Boy and Boy on Girl and now add in transgender young adults and social media, we cannot always police them.

    I fear that this will only get worse, as the Police all too often fail to attend and push the issue back onto the school.

    Thank you for raising this though, it is a massive issue and one which gets so little attention.

  4. One of the challenges is that schools cannot depend on parental support when dealing with bullying, and in some cases children are ‘only’ copying what they see at home, on TV and elsewhere. We’ve stolen the opportunity for innocence from a generation. This is the price that Claire and Alison are paying.

    One of the opportunities that needs to be seized is to embed mutual respect across the entire school estate, to create a culture where bullying is abhorred by all. It can be done, and it is being done in some schools successfully.

  5. An Academy Girl // January 21, 2019 at 17:26 // Reply

    I totally get this and is a reality for me and my friends at school.

  6. Just a Girl // January 21, 2019 at 19:46 // Reply

    It’s a reality I recognise.

  7. Privately Educated Pupil // January 21, 2019 at 20:08 // Reply

    It is not just state schools or academies where this is a problem I can assure you. As a fee paying student who attends a very well know private school in Canterbury, it is an issue here too.

  8. As a frequent traveller on buses between Folkestone and Hythe I am pretty well shocked at how short the girls school uniform skirts are. Profane language is also fairly common among girls and boys so if young people started behaving with a little more respect for themselves perhaps that might be a start.

    • As I wrote earlier “children are ‘only’ copying what they see at home, on TV and elsewhere.” Our example, our responsibility!!

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