(After a few months, I’m back writing. No More Distractions.)
a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.
About a week ago, I was told by a friend that one of our old classmates had just been charged with sexual assault. Sadly I saw it coming. Things like this happened too often at my old school. But no one ever did anything about it. Too many people in my school had sexist views. They believed things like, “A woman should dress the way she wants to be approached.”, or “Only certain women are worthy of respect.”. There was a lot more said and believe me: It was a lot more vulgar. Boys would grope random girls in the hallway and everyone would laugh, including me. We thought this type of behavior was okay. Being grabbed in the hall by a stranger was uncomfortable, but I always let it slide. I was a naive and insecure girl, so I was just happy to have their attention. I knew it wasn’t right, I wasn’t going to say anything though.
Around tenth grade, rumors started to fly about me. People started to accuse me of sleeping around, being easy, being a ho- You get the point. The thing is I was a virgin. I had never even had sex. That’s when I started attracting the attention of the football team. Football players started believing it was okay to grope me and bluntly ask me to do obscene things with them. They would call me names in the middle of the hallway and talk about what they heard about me. I didn’t do anything about it though. I ignored it even though it bothered me a lot. It slowly stopped as the years went by, but it still makes me angry when I think about it. It was sexual harassment. I was a victim of rape during my senior year. I prefer not to get into detail about it. It still affects me and I have not received treatment for it yet.
At my school it was “cool” to expose girls. Expose as in guys would record themselves having sex with a girl or save their nudes, then they would pass it around to their friends or put it on social media. This is actually considered a crime. As far as I know, no one at my school ever got into serious trouble for it. The girl would become a laughing stock for a few weeks. She would have a bad reputation at school because words spread fast. I used to laugh and joke about this type of stuff to my friends. But, it wasn’t funny at all. I imagine how the girls must’ve felt. The embarrassment and betrayal. They were probably scared to report it.
If only we were taught in school about sexual harassment and sexual assault. If only we were taught that everyone is deserving of respect, no matter how they dressed or how “pure” we believe them to be. If only we had sexual education classes in school where everyone could have learned what consent was. I wish I could go back and report every single thing that happened to me. But at the same time I don’t want to go back, those were painful times for me. One thing I can do now is discuss rape culture with my peers and younger generations to keep this dangerous cycle from continuing.