Testimony 40

I would say the continuous culture over the two years of sixth form of boys constantly ranking and placing value on appearance has had a profound impact on my relationship with men. When I stepped into sixth form the first month I heard I had been called clapped countless times, made into memes, called an idiot and laughed at for my appearance and speech. It was emotionally manipulative as often they would act as my friends to my face only to then make constant comments and pairing me with ‘ugly’ boys to try and embarrass me all whilst expecting me to take it as a joke. They would often do this on group chats, public social media comments and real life comments. A friend told me once when I walked past a boy barked at me and then laughed. I was expected to take this all as banter and not be sensitive but as someone who had never talked to boys until year 12 I was not tooled to deal with this. This left me crying when I came home from school, insanely paranoid in school and wanting to disappear which eventually manifested in suicidal thoughts in year 13. Upon leaving I found it hard to look at boys in the eye because I was so scared they’d think I was ugly or would find me strange and grotesque because that was what was hammer into me. This also led me to become incredible guarded and self-protective meaning I find it hard to ever be vulnerable to men and often don’t put myself in those situations (such as a date). I am also still very paranoid that a guy giving me a compliment has to be a lie, leading to a lack of trust, as I still believe it is all part of a larger game or joke that was played on me at kegs and that I cannot be worthy of being seen like that. These comments may seem harmless and ‘banter’ but they really do have a profound impact.

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