Testimony 56

I was only ever educated with girls until I went to kegs for sixth form – as you can imagine I had little to no experience with boys. Over the course of those two years I really let myself believe that this was simply how boys were… the worst part being I felt like I could never say anything because anything I did say tended to be dismissed by ‘lack of experience’ and ‘you take everything way too seriously’. This even used to come from my own group of female friends. It was disgusting how desensitised we all became to what we were facing day in day out.

I choose not to think about these people anymore as it really does affect my mental health, but one group of boys in the class of 2019 really sticks in my mind – any time I would wear a particular outfit one of them would make disgusting comments on the things he wanted to do to me. Any time I wore anything else, whether that be a looser shirt, a longer skirt, or, God forbid, trousers, he would straight up call me ugly. I would walk into common room during a free and he would look at me and just say ‘do you really think you’re peng like that?’ . He would take advantage of knowing that I had never done anything with anyone before and make horrible comments about how it’s not due to my own choice, and rather because I’m undesirable and no one wants me. He would do this while sitting with his friends so as to get some sort of response from them, and of course, they would all join in and laugh. All this stemmed from one moment that I was asked if I would ever go out with this guy and I said no, he’s not really my type. There was all sorts of unprovoked abuse every single day usually surrounding my appearance and I can honestly say I have never felt more insecure in my entire life. It might not be that serious to a lot of people but out of all the questionable experiences I have had in sixth form, there is no one that has made me feel as little as this particular individual in this particular group of boys did day in day out, and while I like to think of myself as someone who has enough confidence in herself not to let these things bother me, this has stayed with me all these years later. I used to cry on my way home from sixth form every single day from how small I felt as well as from the pressures of my studies. If a girl doesn’t want you, that is no excuse to harass her.

One of the boys in this same group of people used to continuously grope me on nights out. As in over and over again, and when I would tell him to stop his friend would just laugh. Same group of boys would continuously make horrible comments about my friend’s weight as well as making racist jokes about her to the point where she tells me that she is terribly self conscious about her appearance to this day and has found it difficult to trust the males she is surrounded with at university. Quite frankly, none of us deserved this sort of trauma.

I could go on all day with the stories I have. It was only until I went to university that I realised just how toxic an environment it was – an honest shame, because I cannot fault the education I received from kegs in the slightest. I had some other personal issues during my time at sixth form, and again, I received a kind of support from senior staff that I could never have dreamed of receiving at cchs and for that I am forever grateful; I just wish that they would put the same sort of genuine effort into educating their boys on how to fix their students’ disgusting mentalities.

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