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Abuse at school, getting past it (sorry, long and poss sensitive)

(7 Posts)
QofeTheRaven Tue 28-Oct-14 19:47:42

NCed for this for obvious reasons however I am a genuine longstanding MNer and probably identifiable to regulars.

I went to a small private school run by an organisation with some strange ideas. The girls in the class were subjected to some pretty revolting treatment by some of the boys - this was between the ages of 10 to 14 when I was moved to a different school. This was in the 90s - I'm only early 30s now so not exactly a fucking age ago either.

Among other things, I (and other girls) would regularly have their breasts grabbed, be pinned against walls and tables and have sex simulated against us, be grabbed between the legs, have loud comments made about our breasts etc. This has left me with lasting ishoos - I feel a rising panic when anyone comes too close behind me and have in the past turned round and slapped my partner (who is lovely and very respectful) away and screamed at him for giving me a hug from behind. I can't really even cope with my own DC getting too close to me or holding onto me when I don't want them to, it makes me genuinely panicky. I cannot take a compliment and I don't just mean that I get a bit embarrassed by them, I actually get quite weepy and stressed if DP tells me I am beautiful (for example).

The school staff would see this but didn't really intervene other than to tell us to ignore it. I don't think the boys involved were ever disciplined even when it was seen by staff, though I was once suspended for a day for kicking one of the in the crotch shock I don't know why but it never occurred to me to make a proper complaint about it, it just seemed... normal.

Anyway this week the news has come that a classmate has died, this was one of the few I got on well with and who was never involved in the abuse. I'd like to go to the funeral but have realised that the boys (well, men now) who used to do all that to me are likely to be there and this has all started to kick off inside my head. For many many years I've just squashed it, never really connecting what I put up with at school for some of my issues now. Never really thinking about it. But even as I type this I have this memory of being about 12 and having my period, heading for the toilets and having to run/dodge between the desks as I knew one of them would grab at my crotch and I didn;t want them to feel my sanitary towel. And it makes me realise just how fucked up that was and how its affecting me still now.

So... is this something I could, I don't know, get help with? Where from? Or is it something I just need to forget and get over?

funwithforresters Tue 28-Oct-14 20:36:07

Really sorry you have had these experiences.

Are you in touch with anyone from school? I think you should report it all. I am sure it would be investigated which would protect others, give you the knowledge that you have done so and taken the power back.

I know, these things do stay with you. The thing is to know you are right and 'they' are wrong.
(Just a comment or bad joke can reduce me to tears. I am a mother and boss with 5 staff.)

If you really want to attend the funeral, do so. Take someone with you that you trust and who knows the situation, DH, This person can 'protect' you should anyone make you feel uncomfortable. You have every right to feel uncomfortable given your history, but you also have every right to go where ever you please, to enjoy DC's cuddles and hold your head high.

Be strong smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 29-Oct-14 07:55:37

I'm sorry you had this experience. I think you probably need some professional help dealing with it in the form of counselling. I agree with the PP that it might help you to track down old classmates - even if it's just to get their confirmation of your memories. A common denominator when it comes to childhood trauma is often that people feel alone with their memories and it can be enough for others to confirm that a) it happened and b) it was unacceptable.

The school was responsible for everyone's wellbeing & safety. I would say they were as neglectful of you as they were of the boys who behaved so badly. 10 -14yos can do some pretty nasty things to each other if unsupervised and the fault does not lie with children but with the people 'in loco parentis'.

Were complaints raised at the time? Were parents informed? Again, if you speak to others from your school you might get a clearer picture and be able to take action as a group.

QofeTheRaven Wed 29-Oct-14 08:43:31

The few of my old classmates I am still in fairly close contact with are friends with some of the worst perpetrators! This is one of the main reasons I wonder if maybe I am just hopelessly oversensitive and looking for someone to blame for my general crapness as an adult. There are one or two women I think might have similar feelings but I'd find it very difficult to approach them. We weren't close at school and we are not really in touch now.

It hadn't even occurred to me to contact the school. I suffered emotional abuse by staff members as well, never physical I should be clear on that, but enough to leave me with what I now think was lasting damage to my ability to form relationships and deal with authority figures.

I'm finding this all quite difficult because this is all stuff I have just buried for so long. But the rising panic I feel just typing it out now is scary and makes me think it was worse than I ever thought at the time.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 29-Oct-14 13:30:27

Being realistic, how you are as an adult may or may not be directly related to your experiences as a child. That doesn't mean that what happened to you as a child was right, it just doesn't mean necessarily that if you explore your childhood problems you will be a better adult. However, bullying is a horrible thing to experience in whatever form it takes and I think the very least you deserve is to have your feelings validated and your memories corroborated.... that's to help deal with the past. For a better future with less adult crapness, you should also think about undergoing counselling. There will have been other influences in your life before and since the school experience which may have left you less resilient as a result.

MerryMarigold Wed 29-Oct-14 13:42:42

I think Cogito makes a good point, that it was the school's problem. The staff did not protect you, or even the boys from this behaviour. I think if you can separate the boys' out of it (they were kids - ok so they were partially responsible, but tbh a lot of boys would do that if they constantly got away with it), it will help you approach your friends who are good friends with the boys. Could you say you had been thinking about your school days and wondered if you'd got some memories confused or whether they remember these things too.

I think some children are more affected than others. I look at my ds1 and see how he reacts to things other kids can handle. He is very sensitive and not emotionally resilient, but also feels very deeply for others, as well as himself. Just because others weren't affected in the same way doesn't mean it shouldn't have affected you.

I would also get some counselling so you can let go of this. I think you need to 'go there' to get rid of it. I was bullied for about 4 years at school (12-16) and it hugely affected me although it was never sexual. It has hugely affected my self esteem and I'm in my 40's!

funwithforresters Thu 30-Oct-14 21:00:12

Hi OP. Hope you are feeling stronger and gotten some help smile

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