Jonell on Sexual Harassment, Street Harassment and “Hey Shorty!”

During my time at work I’ve been reading a book called “Hey Shorty” by the Girls For Gender Equity (GGE).This book relates to our topic on intimate partner violence because it talks about sexual harassment and why it’s important to speak up about sexual harassment for junior and high school public schools.  This is important to me because I don’t think anybody should go through sexual harassment because I’ve been through it before in elementary school and it was very uncomfortable.  Boys would try to grab my butt and I’d be uncomfortable about that, and I would say something and the adults wouldn’t do anything about it.  They think that it’s normal, that boys will be boys, and its still like that to this day.  This boys will be boys metntality creates a place where guys will take advantage of girls and nobody does anything about it.

GGE explained the steps to avoiding sexual harassment.   Depending on how someone approaches you, there are different ways to react.  If someone touches you in an inappropriate way, you can defend yourself.  You can speak up, or just walk away.  It depends on how a harasser approaches you.  If someone that works with you that does something you don’t like, you should say something.  If it’s someone on the street, I would probably just walk away.

The group sent surveys to all junior and high school students in all five boroughs in New York. GGE found out that only 74 percent of males reported that sexual harassment was not a problem in their school more than 67 percent of the females.   It’s important to know that not only boys street harass; girls do it too.  It’s more rare but it still happens.  This is a serious problem in public schools because the teachers don’t take it seriously because they think that females should’ve never worn something too revealing to make boys touch them in a sexual way.  You can be totally covered up and still get harassed, and even if you are wearing something revealing you aren’t asking for it.  It’s not ok when adults tell girls who are asking for help that they should expect to be harassed if they are wearing revealing clothes.   This connects to intimate partner violence because sexual harassment is one of the key problems of intimate partner violence.  It’s part of it because when you’re in an abusive relationship and your partner forces you to do something you don’t want to do, that’s also about consent and coercion and control.

I have a lot of experiences with sexual harassment, mostly on the street but also in school.  It makes me really uncomfortable.  I learned from my mom that you should just ignore them and walk away, and if they follow you run.  I don’t think fathers have to have these conversations with their sons; they might have to talk to their daughters though, and they would probably tell their son to fight back instead of run.  It makes us look bad.  Why do we have to run because of that?  Why do we have to be the gender that has to run?

Jonell,17

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