Testimony 148

I attended CCHS for years 7-13 and left a fair few years ago. The stat that 97% of girls have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their youth is not merely a KEGS problem, it is an issue of deep rooted misogyny and male domination in society, but I think the problem is worse at KEGS (and likely other boys’ schools) than, say, mixed schools, for a number of reasons (though I am no sociologist either, as a different testimony has said). I’d also say that there are of course some lovely boys at KEGS, and always have been. But the environment is very different to your standard mixed school.

Firstly, the boys simply don’t interact much with girls until sixth form. I found my male friends from mixed schools seemed to have their ‘lad phase’ much earlier, whereby they learned how to interact with girls and were much better at having female friends from a younger age. KEGS boys however, seem to have this ‘lad phase’ in sixth form, where they finally have some sort of constant interaction with girls, hence the constant sexualisation of the new girls as they are not used to being around them. Secondly, the high achieving nature of the school (similar to CCHS in fact) means the boys are extremely competitive with one another – coupled with fragile male egos and the constant need for outperformance, this seems to foster a very unhealthy culture where boys are completely ego driven (especially the ‘popular’ boys), bullying is rife and teachers ignore key issues as these students will nonetheless achieve good grades.

These issues are all prevalent in previous testimonies about charity ball abuse, ‘slave auctions,’ general treatment of girls etc. My personal experience was that one night at a house party in year 9, I got quite drunk, and a couple of incidents occurred on the same night. Firstly, two boys literally pinned me down on the floor and took turns kissing me. Secondly, a different boy took me to the bathroom with him and locked the door, saying I wasn’t allowed to leave until I kissed him. I reluctantly obliged, but he also forced my hand down his trousers and tried to do more, to which I refused. I don’t know if these things occur because these boys are desperate to score ‘lad points’ in that environment, but of course the way they were told was that I was the slutty one in these situations, and I actually had the word ‘slut’ shouted at me by numerous boys across the street as I walked to the station some time later. Looking back, these acts (and there were many others like it) were clearly sexual harassment, but at the time I was shamed.

As I said, I don’t think this is unique to KEGS, but the environment these boys grow up in, in my opinion, makes them quite disillusioned in knowing right from wrong (when it comes to girls) until a much later age.

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