Harassed and Over It
Recent news prompted one of our Embassadors to write a short story for Em about what it's like to be sexually harassed at school.
So I am walking to school, it’s Wednesday. I’m hot from my walk so I take off my sweater. As I come in the gate I see Jake and his group of friends sitting near the path that takes me to my class. Damn. And I am by myself today too, normally I walk with Liv but she had soccer practice this morning.
I feel my body tense up. I know what’s coming next.
I blush and just keep walking.
“Hey! I said hey to you.”
I say “Hey” and try to just keep walking. I feel like I have to remind myself how to walk, like all of a sudden I don’t know how to move my body normally. I want to look cool, like I don’t care.
“Nice tits. They’re a bit small, but nice”. All his friends laugh. They are talking to each other about me.
“Thanks, do you wish you had some? You’d look real nice with tits!” I say.
No, I don’t say that I thought of that later. And anyway, he’d just start messing with me more, saying I can’t take a compliment. I just feel my face get even hotter, but I am almost around the corner and it’s over. I don’t know why it gets to me so much. I try to just shake it off. I see Liv and I tell her I just walked past the crew and we just roll our eyes.
Nothing new. Totally normal, right? Boys being boys.
Jake kinda follows me between classes but I am with Maya now so I don’t care as much. Maya says something about him and we all laugh. When I turn around again he is gone. Laura tells me I’m lucky and it just means he likes me. She says I should be flattered. Maybe I should?
This happens a couple of times a week. It happens to different girls. When I see it happening they all pretty much respond like me.
We all roll our eyes if we’re with our friends, and just try to ignore it if we’re alone.
Once, this girl Ruby told him to “FUCK OFF” and from then on, Jake made sure she was known as That Crazy Bitch.
Now it’s Thursday afternoon. I stayed late because I had hockey. It’s rainy and a bit dark. I am walking home by myself and… oh shit, there are the crew hanging out again! I feel my heart start to race. I think about turning back, but one of them has spotted me so I just keep walking.
“Hey it’s sexy!”
“Nice uniform sexy, shows off your tits.”
Walk. Walk. Keep walking. My heart is beating.
“Don’t you respond when people talk to you? That’s rude.”
“Where’re you going, sexy.”
“I’m going home, I’ll see you at school tomorrow.” I say. I just want them to leave me alone. I don’t remember what else they are saying, I just know I’m totally freaking out. Why? Why am I totally freaking out? It’s just the same stuff, and Jake probably just likes me and I know some girls really like it when he talks to them, what’s wrong with me?
All the way home I keep checking behind my back. I only start to feel better when I get home and shut the door behind me.
“Are you ok honey?” my mum asks me.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I smile as I go to my room.
I’m not fine. I’m scared. There was a bunch of them, as usual, and we weren’t on school grounds and school time and, honestly, I really thought they might do something to me. Does that seem a little over the top, just because they call out about my tits I think they’re going to rape me?
But I did think that. I didn’t feel safe. And I’m told all the time to protect myself because 1 in 3 girls have something like that happen to them.
A girl in my English class was at a party and said one of those guys made her do something she didn’t want to. At least, that’s what I heard, and then all of a sudden we hardly ever saw her. Actually, I think she dropped out.
I think, deep down, that’s why I freeze, or don’t say anything when those guys hassle me. I think I’m afraid to get them mad, or do anything that might draw more of their attention to me. It just doesn’t feel safe, and as girls we know what could happen. Keep yourself safe.
You know what, I’m beginning to think I would rather be That Crazy Bitch.