…It appears a growing number of young girls are not only being sexually assaulted [in school], but have come to think of it as a normal part of their educational experience.
Recent studies from both the Board’s Safety Panel and the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health show some shocking stats at one school: 33 per cent say they’ve been sexually harassed in the past two years; another 29 admit to having been touched or grabbed inappropriately and seven per cent have actually been victims of a major sexual assault.
“You just hear jokes [being yelled out] all the time that have to do with girls doing sexual things,” said Madison Fitzgerald, a Toronto high school student.
“There’s a lot of groping and touching in our school.,” said another.
But Connelly believes it’s a problem that’s endemic to halls of learning across the country. “One of the concerns is the alarming rate of gender-based violence, and 21 per cent of the students that were surveyed said that they knew at least one student who was sexually assaulted at school. Now there’s sexual harassment, which is talking inappropriately and there’s sexual harassment which is being touched inappropriately. So the 21 per cent are talking about sexual assault.
“Twenty-nine per cent of Grade 9 girls … felt unsafe at school partly due to sexual comments and unwanted looks or touches; 27 per cent of the girls in Grade 11 admitted to being pressured into doing something sexual that they did not want to do; 14 per cent of the females reported being harassed over the Internet.”
She worries that’s becoming the ‘new normal’ and an accepted mode of behaviour that’s just part of going to class everyday. “They take it for granted that this is the way they should be treated,” she concludes.
Some experts believe the situation is exacerbated because most kids don’t understand exactly what “sexual assault” actually entails.
But at least the grownups are finally starting to call it that. Though they may need to move a little more quickly to educate everyone about what’s appropriate and what’s just … no. Then — holy grail — you need to get the popular kids to call out the others when it happens.
Me, I remember a bit of vaguely line-crossing stuff that happened when I was in school, shortly after the Peloponnesian War. Whether or not I told, which I probably did not, I remember that in general the adults’ response would be “Eh, he’s just doing it because he likes you.” And I remember that weird mix of feelings that I didn’t know what to do with, that uncomfortably prickly mishmash of “Eee, really?! and “Eeuw.” Not helpful.
Q: What kind of sexual harassment is — or was — considered “normal” at your school? What, if anything, was done about it?
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I have a serious problem. I can’t stay interested in a guy for more than three weeks. This has led to many problems. It also results in many heartbreaks, for the guys. I realize this isn’t healthy and I appreciate your advice.
– Kilroy Wasn’t Here
I’m doing a little guesswork here, but let me just state that relationship time equivalencies are as follows: 3 months calendar time = 3 weeks high school time. This, therefore, is normal.
Hi! I am a senior college student, and believe it or not, my boyfriend for ten months is just a senior high school student. Dig that?
Any way, I’ve been thinking about this for quite a long time. I always get paranoid and feel insecure in our relationship. Sometimes I feel like I don’t trust him anymore. Maybe because he has hurt me a lot, or he is just plain insensitive. Is it because he is still a kid? I think that sometimes, he is mature enough. Please help me.
Dear Breakup Girl,
I really like this guy who dumped me like three months ago. And I asked him why and I got like five different answers. I don’t know which one to believe. And I really like him a lot. I tried to ask him out personally, but I chickened out and had someone else do it. He just says no or drops the subject or something. Someone asked him why he wouldn’t go back out with me and his answer was “Because…just because. I gotta go.” How should I go about getting him back? Or should I just forget about him (which would be pretty hard)?
Guys, guys, guys: STOP HAVING OTHER PEOPLE ASK PEOPLE OUT/BREAK UP WITH PEOPLE FOR YOU. Also, no notes. These procedure never work accurately or efficiently! I know they are all standard forms of high school dating communication, but if you ask me, they should have gone out with the rotary phone. I bet you the kids on “Dawson’s Creek” don’t do dumb stuff like that! Then again, they’re all dating grownups. But still.
My now-ex-girlfriend and I broke up two weeks after I left for college. She is in high school and said that she didn’t feel she could wait for me and watch her senior year pass her by. She is very popular and gets many guys but both she and I know that I’m the one she was happy with.
We went out for a year and I couldn’t believe she now just wanted to date. It has now been about two months since we broke up and a month since I’ve talked to her. She never was one to express herself. But I still seem to want her back. Can I get her back? Should I get her back? Should I talk to her over Christmas break or just continue wondering how she feels? Please help me.
So now that youngsters (myself included) are heading back to school, let’s discuss the persistent annoyance of POPULARRRITTTTY. My bespectacled, retainer-clad self has always secretly loathed these social rankings. I always give off that what-EVER vibe, but secretly, I rely on the mantra of the social-success-challenged: “You’ll be sorry when I’m older, when I’ll be far greater than this.” Mom’s version: “They won’t grow up to be nearly as great as you!”
Could either of us be actually — scientifically — correct? A recent article in the New York Times explored various sociological studies of popularity, suggesting, for one thing, that those with aggressive, dominating attitudes within the hallowed high school halls (you know, those that lettered in every sport, ever, including picking on you) carried those traits into the “real world” … where they didn’t go over well. (Picture Emily Blunt’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, who was probably a popularity nightmare in high school.)