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Sexual bullying - time for schools to act to protect girls?

65 replies

KateMumsnet · 11/10/2012 13:14

Today's guest blog is from Holly Dustin, from the End Violence Against Women Coalition, which this week launched its Schools Safe 4 Girls campaign.

As evidence mounts that teenage girls are increasingly vulnerable to sexual bullying - and even violence - both in and out of school, Holly's written a powerful post urging schools to do more to protect and empower girls, and to educate both girls and boys about sexual consent.

Have a look, and tell us what you think. Is this something that you remember from school - or something that you're concerned about for your own children? Would you be prepared, as Holly urges, to talk to your own school about how it protects girls?

If you blog about this, (or about International Day of Girl, which is today) let us know here on the thread. Or add your post to our linky - we'll be tweeting them over the next few days.

OP posts:
tethersend · 11/10/2012 15:23

We have to stop telling girls that if a boy hits them it's because he likes her and start telling the boys not to hit. I can't believe how many times I've heard this line trotted out in schools ad nauseum and can't believe that otherwise intelligent and clued-up teachers insist on perpetuating this.

rockinhippy · 11/10/2012 15:34

Its not just teens either, sadly it can start much younger, mine is only 10 & has experienced this sort of thing already - I've just read a story she's written today, probably isn't considered in the least PC, but I had to laugh & was secretly proud that her mention of this by way of dressing how you like can get the wrong sort of attention from boys - her solution - slap them hard & drop kick themShock

SuffolkNWhat · 11/10/2012 16:08

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

deleted203 · 11/10/2012 16:38

I can't believe the school that claimed they were unable to exclude the boy who committed a 'serious sexual assault' before he was convicted. I'm a teacher, and any pupil who did anything whatsoever of that nature would be immediately excluded from our school, believe me.

rockinhippy · 11/10/2012 16:44

But it doesn't always happen that way So turned out after a battle, that in DDs case the School didn't even have that option, I ended up going way above the schools head + the issues there really were off the scale + not just for DD either :(

crazygracieuk · 11/10/2012 17:24

I think that everyone needs protecting.

I have 2 sons and a daughter. My sons have been kissed against their will at school and one teacher said that it wasn't the same as a boy forcibly kissing a girl and in a few years he'd be happy for that sort of female attention. (He was y2 )
My younger son is y2 in a different primary and there is a girl who kisses random boys with tongue and grabs their privates. She has done it since reception and goes through periods of stopping and starting.

Stepmumm · 11/10/2012 17:39

Its not just girls, my ds has been targetted from year 2 - initially a group of girls wanting him to be their boyfriend and kissing him/chasing him, recently another group of girls bullied him, its not always girls that need protecting

wonderstuff · 11/10/2012 19:05

I'd be very worried about a girl in year 2 kissing with tongues and going for boys privates - definitly want to flag her up to social services.

messybedhead · 11/10/2012 21:05

My 8 year old DD was pushed to the floor by her classmate who then suggested to another boy that they rape her!

School took it very seriously but he still is in her class and he still does inappropriate things.

My DD isn't all that worried because she doesn't know what rape means but we were furious!

LindsayWagner · 11/10/2012 21:05

Upsetting as that might be stepmumm, it's an individual case; we should maybe get this discussion - which is about the bigger picture for teenage girls - back on track.

The overwhelming evidence, if the guest blog is right, is that teenage girls are having an absolutely shit time. A shit time that is completely comparable to the shit time that girls had in the 70s, and which the Jimmy Savile revelations are now throwing into the spotlight.

We need to speak the fuck up about this - and not let the media rub its hands and say thank god things are better for girls now. Because - really - they're not.

They're really, really, not.

rockinhippy · 11/10/2012 21:27

Yes Lindsay, but don't you think that properly addressing these sort of behaviors early, ie: the boys.- + sometimes girls who perpetrate this sort of behaviour as young as year 2 might lessen the problem for teens? IME + my DD has suffered a lot of it, including being pinned by her throat to a fence + have a boy ram his tongue in her mouth, whilst grabbing her crotch - that also was yr 2 + only the tip of the iceburg- at that age too much emphasis is put on helping the perpetrator + often playing it down rather than meeting it head on, also amongst young ones the behaviour is like a cancer, it spreads like wildfire - does the seeds so to speak, the boy left XXs school - but we dread DD meeting up with him again in senior school.

rockinhippy · 11/10/2012 21:28

Does, darn autocorrect

zipzap · 11/10/2012 21:33

Thought this article - A primer on sexism in the tech industry would be of interest to this debate.

Although it has been written about the tech industry, I reckon that much of it applies to most industries and to school environments too.

It's one of the best articles on the topic I've read - not so much about the out and out physical attacks but about the insidious nature of sexism in the industry/workplace, and interestingly, about how lots of men don't recognise that it is a problem now, they think it was something that happened a long time ago, but things have got better and it is all now ok.

The author (who happens to be male) recognises that there is a serious problem still and that it is 'a culmination of many separate, 'smaller'? problems that are endemic in our industry, and society at large'.

wonderstuff · 11/10/2012 21:43

If children in year 2 - 6 and 7 year olds are behaving in this way then there is a good chance they are victims of sexual abuse. Which needs to be investigated and they need support. I think all children need to be educated about sex and relationships from a young age, they need guidance on what is OK and not OK and what to do if they find themselves in a situation they are not comfortable in.

The camera phone and the internet are things I'm glad I didn't have to deal with when I was a teenager. I don't think we address these things well enough. The generation gap between parents and children at the moment is an issue. My experience of being a teenager is so different to that of todays teens.

duchesse · 11/10/2012 21:49

Funnily enough I was just thinking about this this morning, and remembering how assaulted and demeaned I felt at school aged 11 when boys pinched my bottom, even though I will very much still a child (no chest). I think we need to teach all girls not to tolerate this kind of behaviour, and how to deliver a swift knee to the crotch if they are ever assaulted in this way. From age 6.

I can guarantee that if boys expect to feel great pain every time they do this, they will refrain from doing it. It's the fact that girls are so disempowered that makes the boys believe it's all right to keep doing it.

LindsayWagner · 11/10/2012 21:50

rockinhippy I agree: this kind of sexualised behaviour in primaries MUST be dealt with. But that still leaves (and tbh might distract from) a wider cultural problem that is - right now - affecting ALL our daughters, and ALL our sons. No-one's talking about it, and that's the fucking problem. This really is affecting girls's lives, as we speak.

rockinhippy · 11/10/2012 21:50

Sometimes wonder yes you're right, other times its lazy parenting in that they kids are exposed to stuff way above their years + mimic, end result is often the same :(

WorriedBetty · 11/10/2012 21:55

Hello, sorry to be a little less of the outraged sort, but can't some of this behaviour be down to misguidedness, play-acting, attention-seeking and uncontrolled reactions?

I like a quote I heard once, something like 'I'm not deciding to be naughty, I just haven't learnt to control or understand my big feelings yet' that was about shouting at children.

Sure a man or woman adult who grabs a crotch or tries to inappropriately kiss someone can be said to be making a choice, but can a child playing 'kissy' really be displaying a patriarchal need to dominate and control. It seems a bit harsh.

Also there seems to be a little too much of the 'girls make mistakes, boys are in control, deciding to manipulate and are deliberately belittling' value system, which is disempowering in itself IYSWIM.

rockinhippy · 11/10/2012 21:55

I know Lindsay I see too much of it with friends teens + dread DD hitting that age, as she already attracts too much of the wrong sort of attention, so I'm not intending to undermine your post, just add my view that addressing the problem properly at primary age might be a way forward.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid · 11/10/2012 21:56

Schools have children in their care for 6 hours a day. They can do everything they can but something fundamental needs to be done in society to address the creep of porn taking over teenagers.

rockinhippy · 11/10/2012 22:03

Sadly worried sometimes it can, yes mimicked behaviour + even out + out sexual behaviour probaby wasn't really, IYSWIM, but it was domineering+ the effect on the victim is the same

LindsayWagner · 11/10/2012 22:03

I think so too ArielThePiraticalMermaid - but what?

I'd like to see all internet users have to opt-in, with proof of age, if they want to access porn. But there's a small but vocal group here that see that as the End of Days.

rockinhippy · 11/10/2012 22:05

If porn was at fault Ariel EVERY man would be a rapist, it runs much deeper than that

LindsayWagner · 11/10/2012 22:06

Ahem I promise not to say fucking again for the next 5 posts, except by special request..

ArielThePiraticalMermaid · 11/10/2012 22:11

I'm not saying that at all, and I have always disputed the commonly held opinion of a lot of MN that EVERY man looks at hardcore porn. My DH certainly doesn't and I know that.

Soft porn has ceased to be enough and the spread of much harder stuff has contributed to the reversal of strides made for the equality of women. This has been accompanied by the normalisation of sex in every part of life - it's ceased to be part of your private life and it's everywhere. Everywhere.

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