1 in 4, you have probably heard that saying before. For those of you who do not know, 1 in 4 is the number of girls who get sexually assaulted or harassed in college. What you probably forgot to think about, is how much it happens in high school. The problem with sexual assault in high school is a lot of girls are uncomfortable or too scared to report it so it often goes unnoticed, but that does not mean it is not still a problem.
I am just your average 15-year-old girl, I am athletic, I get good grades, and I hang out with my friends on the weekends. One thing that is different about me is that I have switched schools several times. My last school I went to was a small school in a small town of only 500 people. There were 65 people in my grade and we were the biggest class that this school had ever seen. It only averages 35 students per grade. While I was at this school I started to hear stories about guys, and not only upperclassmen which is a common misconception, taking advantage of girls. I was unsure about some of these stories because you cannot always believe small town rumors but when I really started to look for it I was surprised at what I started to notice.
It was my 8th-grade year and I would see guys continuously grabbing girls butts as they walked down the hallway or outwardly making sexual comments to or about certain girls. It was not for a while that it started to happen to me too. It all started when I heard a bunch of guys laughing at me and behind my back. I ignored them till I heard what they were really talking about. They were all talking about my butt and how nice it was and trying to bet each other to see who was brave enough to grab it. That time they did not, but eventually they did and once it started, it kept escalating to be more and more and not just by the same guys. It got to the point where I could not even walk down the hallway without getting some sort of sexual comment or a guy who grabbed my butt. Like most girls, I was afraid to go to the principle I did not think he would take me seriously, what a mistake.
As that year went on I found a guy who at the time I thought was an amazing guy. I started to really like him and I thought he really liked me, but I was wrong. One day my friend showed me a video she had caught of this guy I liked, smiling and openly stating “I don’t want to date her I just want to hit it and quit it.” This broke my heart because I had thought that this guy really liked me. So I was upset for awhile but I eventually moved on telling myself that he just was not worth it.
For the rest of that year, it continued to happen and I just let it go telling myself “All guys are like that” or “that just a thing guys do." I was wrong and looking back I wished I would have stood up for myself at least once, and just explained that that is not okay, girls are not just objects or toys for you to play with, but I did not.
After I graduated that year I switch schools to a much bigger school. It was completely opposite in most ways from my last school. It had bigger class sizes, much more students, better teachers, and best of all a lot more opportunities. I thought that this would be a fresh start for me, a new beginning, and it was in many ways. I made new friends, met a ton of amazing people, and I continued in sports. The only problem was that I again started to hear stories about guys who tried to sleep with as many girls as possible, keeping tally marks on their lockers as if they were some sort of trophy. I started experiencing it myself with guys begging to hang out with me but I knew that they did not just want to “hang out”.
I was on the bus one day and a guy took my phone out of my hand and shoved it down his pants and was begging me to reach down and get it. Of course, I did not and he eventually gave me my phone back but not without a lot of pleading. I again did not tell anyone because I was too scared to and I did not think it was that big of a deal.
These kinds of things keep happening, and not only to me but also to other high school girls all around the world. I think that as a community we need to speak out. These kinds of things are typically well addressed for college students, but not as much for high school students. We need to speak out and show the bad guys out there that it is not ok. I have been to two very different schools, and I have heard other stories from other schools, so I know it is not just some schools. Sexual assault and harassment happen everywhere, so just keep a lookout and if you see or experience something say something because it is time to take a stand and show guys that there is more to us than our bodies. That we have a personality, a voice and even more than that were human too we make mistakes too. If you think that the problem is not "a big deal" or that "no one will care" your wrong because they will.
This article is not implying that all guys are bad or that they are the only ones making the mistakes. I know some girls that do the same exact thing to guys, I have seen it happen. In general we all just need to respect one another. If you find yourself wondering where all the good guys or girls are, just know that they are out there they sometimes are just harder to find. But when you do find them, you will be glad that you did.