Thursday, April 15

It is an excuse to put all the blame for sexual abuse on the schools | Rape and sexual assault


“When I was 16 years old, a boy at a party took me to a shady corner of the garden.” “We were all sleeping in tents at my partner’s party.” “I had a boyfriend, at first everything was perfect.”

How many parents have read the whiny opening lines of the stories on Everyone’s Invited, a new website that allows female students to anonymously tell their stories of sexual violence, not just with horror but with a sinking feeling of recognition? If it didn’t happen to you, when you grew up a lifetime ago, then it probably happened to someone you knew.

Closed bedroom doors, at parties in drunken houses: the girl came out in tears, the boy pretended indifference; rumor and counter rumor spreading. Summer afternoons that turned into a spiral of darkness. Stories were whispered in the sixth-grade common rooms, about girls being pressured to do something, although no one knew exactly what; things we never dreamed of could be described as crimes when we were little.

Sadly, the only surprising thing about reading the 2021 version of these forgotten stories is that many girls still tentatively post about “sexual assault (?)”, Or describe being so drunk they didn’t know someone had had sex. with them until the news was all over the school, but I still felt uncomfortable describing that as rape. After all, they were guys they knew and trusted: their friends and classmates, sometimes their boyfriends. Children who are almost certainly someone’s beloved child.

Since the site asks girls to name the alleged perpetrator’s school rather than the perpetrator himself, initially the pressure has been on schools to respond to this teenage #MeToo moment. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has asked Ofsted to review protective practices, although if that were enough to solve the problem, there would be very little left to solve. Ofsted has been routinely inspecting the protective practices of schools for years, however, a recent Girl Guides Survey found that six out of 10 girls and women reported experiencing sexual violence or sexual harassment in the last year in high school or college, from having their skirts pulled up or unsolicited sexual images being sent to their phones, to touching unwanted sex.

And while some schools are clearly not the safe places they should be, the worst often occurs in places over which principals have no power, but are now expected to take on more and more responsibilities: at parties and sleepovers. , or in WhatsApp Groups where boys betray their girlfriends’ trust by sharing explicit images that were meant to be private. (No, girls shouldn’t send nudes; but neither should boys tease them, make fun that they’ll never get a boyfriend if they don’t, or send them around the class as trophies.)

Schools obviously have an obligation to keep their students safe, teach them consent and respect, and deal with the consequences that come through their doors. But putting all responsibility for a society-wide problem on directors is frankly an evasion. Assuming that just because the initial posts on Everyone’s Invited involved private schools, the problem is somehow limited to a handful of fancy guys with rights; as its founder Soma Sara points out, doing so “runs the risk that these cases appear rare or abnormal, or that these patterns of abuse may only occur in certain places” when statistics show that they occur everywhere and all the time .

Ultimately, it’s parents who raise kids, and in a porn-saturated culture that scoffs at efforts to instill healthy attitudes toward sex, frankly, we need more help than we’re getting.

We know we need to talk to our children, but we have a hard time finding the words. If it was awkward enough to have the conversation about “stranger danger” when they were little, the mental gymnastics involved in seeing their own child simultaneously as vulnerable, as teenagers invariably still are, short of bravado, and potentially a threat if you don’t. learning to respect the limits of girls, is in a different league. It’s no wonder some parents get defensive, arguing that their children shouldn’t be demonized for the behavior of a few.

However, there are ways to grab the nettle without making children feel ashamed of being children, and one is to educate them not to be reluctant bystanders or facilitators of things that they instinctively already know are wrong.

For every boy who sends nudes of some poor girl to the middle of school, there will be dozens more who will receive them. For every predator at a crowded party, there are other teens hanging around, oblivious or unsure of what to do when they see a girl being ushered upstairs in an inappropriate state to know what is going on.

And poignantly, scattered among the thousands of girls who post on Everyone’s Invited, there are guys who write anonymously about how they don’t want to be part of toxic rituals again; You bet on who can sleep with the “ugliest” girl, let’s say, but don’t. I don’t know how to object without becoming social outcasts.

So parents in particular should talk to their children, not just about consent, but about the times they have stepped in and cared for women in their lives; about peer pressure and doing the right thing. Mothers can find age-appropriate ways to talk about times when a male friend stood up for them.

Like some men were shocked by what women revealed After the murder of Sarah Everard, some boys have also been forced in the last week to see adolescent girls in a different light. It is up to parents, not just schools, to take that moment and use it.

style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-3066188993566428" data-ad-slot="4073357244" data-ad-format="auto" data-full-width-responsive="true">
www.theguardian.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *