Testimony 46

I remember being a new girl at KEGS. I didn’t know any of the other girls, who seemed to have a social relationship from before because they all went to school in the same area and had a mutual set of friends. Obviously, I had also never met any of the boys before. I quickly attached to a group of boys and girls that were in my form and their friends and we began to spend a lot of our breaks and free lessons together. On one occasion, during a free lesson I was sat with these group of boys, and they began to make extremely vulgar and inappropriate comments about my body when I took off my blazer. They said things like: ‘what size bra do you wear?’, ‘show us pictures of yourself where we can see your boobs’. They even went so far as to begin to compare the size of my boobs with other girls in the year and then asked me ‘are you mum’s boobs bigger than that?’ I remember being completely horrified by what was being asked of me, but frankly felt I had no option but to go along with what they were saying because if I didn’t these boys would ridicule me for being too soft, like they had done at other times when I didn’t want to participate in their conversations of the same nature. On another occasion, where I had changed into a pair of comfortable clothes because I had a drama lesson, one of those same boys began to comments about the shape of my body and how when I wore such clothes ‘he really wanted to fuck me.’ He clearly thought this was a compliment and expected me to reciprocate, but I didn’t, and tried to remove myself from the situation by making an excuse that I had somewhere to be. I saw him later on in the day again: I was on the train, going home, with a group of my friends. They got off the train at [specific train stop – removed to protect anonymity of the survivor], but I still had a long portion of my journey to complete. I saw this boy get off the train, but then he saw that I was in the carriage alone so he boarded the train again. I felt instantly uncomfortable and unsafe because it was clear he was leaving but got back on because he saw me. He kept on making attempts to touch my leg and resumed the conversation from earlier asking questions and making statements like: ‘how I got my bum so shapely’, ‘how I should continue to squat because my bum would get bigger’. I then faked a phone call and pretended that one of my friends was calling me to go to another carriage in a bid to escape him because I was fearful about what could have happened if I didn’t leave. Situations like this were extremely common and are symbolic of how KEGS boys think it’s ok to speak to women in such a degrading and vulgar manner and sexually objectify them on a regular basis. It is worrying that I often justify these experiences that occurred as ‘normal’ and ‘not a big deal’ when in reality they are blatant examples of sexual harassment. The school needs to ensure these boys are checked for their behaviour and that they undergo comprehensive sex education from a young age so they know what is right and what is wrong because they clearly thought they could get away with anything.

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