Raising Rapists

A recent Panorama programme covered the issue of sexual harassment and bullying in schools. I am not in a position to say how widespread the problem is nationally but if anecdata is any use, here are some.

Incident 1. I heard shrieking from the top of a flight of stairs. Through the fire door window I could see a boy had a girl pinned to the wall. I shouted “Stop that now!” and ran to intervene. He let go of her as I approached and walked away saying “I was just playing”. I said it did not sound as if the girl was playing, to which he replied: “Oh she always does that”. It did not seem to occur to him that she always objected to his manhandling her. The Hoed of Department got involved but if anything came of it, I didn’t get to hear about it.

Incident 2. A Year 10 boy slapped a female member of staff on the backside and said “Bet you enjoyed that more than the ones you got from your mother.” If he’d done that outside of school he would find himself on an indecent assault charge. As it was, after a short suspension he was back in class as if nothing had happened.

Incident 3. I heard a girl shrieking in the corridor, then a boy saying “Shut up, bitch!”. I went into the corridor and saw a Year 11 boy who had grabbed a girl from behind. I told him to let go of her but he merely repeated my word back to me. I said I was calling Senior Management – at this he ran off. I recognised him and reported the matter. Remains to be seen whether anything is done.

If what I have witnessed is anything to go by, sexual harrassment by boys in schools is not being taken sufficiently seriously by management. This is giving the clear message to boys that this sort of behaviour is only a minor transgression at worst and that really they can do pretty much what they like to women.

If some of them grow up to be rapists, I think we’ll know the reason why.



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