My secondary school repeatedly encouraged an unhealthy ethos on consent and drove an archaic value of women. During our PHSE lessons in first and second year we were told that the way you dressed determined whether you wanted sex; short skirts and low cut tops = asking for it. The word ‘no’ was meaningless if you were intoxicated. Girls were meant to make babies; not enjoy sex like the boys could. B U L L S H I T
Where were the lessons on consent? Sexual health? Sexuality? Gender?
The school banned the common Miss Sexy trousers as they were “misleading and distracting to Male students and teachers”. At 11 years old my body was sexualised by clothing that gave men three times my age a paedophilic yearning. The shaming and terrifying rape culture was already being fed to us by those who were meant to support and care for us. That’s why, with hindsight, I’m not shocked that when I told my form tutor that one of the boys in my tutor group had put his hand up my top to see if I was wearing a bra I was told “boys will be boys”. No. No. No. Boys will be held accountable for their fucking actions. I don’t care if the school determined it as a ‘harmless misunderstanding’, at that age you know you do not touch someone like that.
In my second year of school my Woodwork teacher told the girls in the class there was no point in trying or considering it as a GCSE option as we were “useless” and should do “cooking or something”. What :) the :) actual :) fuck :)
No one questioned him, no one bought him up on his lack of morals. And to this day, 7 years later, it still makes me feel sick that he was employed at that school to ‘educate’ and ‘inspire’. Along with the teacher who told me I was “actually quite smart, for a girl”.
As the years went by girls were constantly slut shamed (albeit by each other as well as by the boys). And for what? Enjoying sex? Masturbation? All those taboo subjects that were perfectly fine for the ‘lads’ to talk about and do. I remember being called a slut because I fancied a boy. A boy that would later sexually abuse me, and threaten to kill me if I ever said anything to anyone. Again, I’m not that perplexed that he became the way he did, not with the way our school taught us about consent.
Consent gained from manipulation is not consent at all.
Even now, if I share something consent / rape related on social media people in my year will try to find a way to blame women for what happened. I genuinely feel this is due to our shitty teachers not actually teaching us and those people being in an unclear sexual situation that they don’t want to admit to being involved in.
To all those out there who don’t have anyone to talk to about sex: go out and have fun. Stay safe and use protection. Have sex for the right reasons and educate yourself on consent. Sex is such a natural thing and you shouldn’t be afraid of exploring it.
And to anyone who thinks a girls body count defines her: 1) go fuck yourself, 2) LET GIRLS DO WHAT THEY WANT, WITH WHO THEY WANT, WHEN THEY WANT! It should not be considered a privilege to do what we want to our own bodies.
Lastly, I'd like to give The Henry Box School this message:
I’ve linked some useful websites down below- please educate yourselves