My experiences as a Black woman were horrible and I am still recovering. I have a particular memory etched into my memory of a teacher walking up from behind me and proceeding to stroke and touch my hair without my consent, I felt very uncomfortable and moved my head away instantly and she laughed and walked away. I had other teachers who clearly didn’t like me and I suspect my misogynoir was a factor. They would make comments about my ‘good grades’ not correlating with the friends I had, my friends were all POC, they encouraged me to make ‘better friends’. One teacher who would constantly harass me to the point of my tears and other students would watch on and laugh or stay silent – other Black women had warned me about him before I had his classes so I made sure to be on my best behaviour but it was never enough for him to stop. It got to the point where I stopped attending school because it would make me so anxious knowing that there were teachers who would pick on me and touch me without my permission, to knowing that students would also do the same or stand by and watch.
From the moment I entered the school, the boys were rating the girls on appearance and comments were made relating to my race – this behaviour continued. I didn’t attend many parties but sexual assault was very common from the little I saw. The boys would intentionally seek out girls who were blackout drunk – I don’t remember the majority of my first sexual experiences which is not okay. There were so many experiences that I’m not sure I can list them all: from being sent pornographic media without my permission to unwanted persistent sexual advances to uncomfortable sexual comments linking to my race – when I told them to stop, I was often met with homophobic comments. I think it has only been in adulthood that I realise how bad it was and how much I suffered. I deserved better. We all deserved better. No matter how insignificant you think your experiences were.
For me, there was no one to talk to – I couldn’t speak to the teachers nor could I speak to my parents and my friends were also traumatised by their own experiences. I entered university a shell of a person as a result of that place. I attended KEGS sixth form for 2 years. I was really proud of my achievement of getting in but if I had know what was to come, I would have never have gone.