For a lot of men, the recent revelations of sexual harassment have come as a surprise. Not so much for women who have experienced sexual violence and discrimination since childhood, puberty and beyond.
To illustrate this point, Crikey asked three high-school-aged girls to share examples of sexual harassment they’ve experienced in recent days, months and years.
At a high school in Sydney, aged 16: “A boy in the year above approached me around 8.30 in the morning and asked me for pictures of my feet. It told him it was inappropriate and he walked away.”
On Instagram, aged 16: “I got sent a message saying, ‘You looking for a sugar daddy to take care of your needs and spoil you financially without any sexual activity and pay you weekly allowance’.”
At a park in Sydney, aged 12: “A group of older boys threw rocks at me and my younger sister. We were really scared.”
On Instagram, aged 13: “An old man from India told me he’d pay for our wedding if I agreed to marry him. I was scared that he would find me even if I deleted the message.”
On Instagram, aged 15: “A man asked me to be his ‘sugar baby’ and to give me $7000 a week via PayPal. He said: ‘I was glancing through profiles when I saw your profile so pretty … my interest has been piqued so I thought I should contact you.'”
At a high school in Sydney, aged 15: “A bunch of boys walked up to us at recess and told us we all had ‘dicks drawn on our foreheads’.”
On Instagram, aged 13: “An old man offered me $4000 if I would FaceTime him. I was scared and deleted the message.”
Sydney CBD, aged 17: “We were catcalled and yelled at when walking through the city with a group of friends at night by a man on the other side of the street who yelled ‘damn!'”
At a high school in Sydney, aged 15: “While running during PE class, a group of 10-15 boys jeered at us girls running, making ‘bouncing’ sounds and air groping their own chests. A teacher told them to stop once, but the boys continued.”
On chat website Omegle, aged 15: “My girlfriend and I looked at this website that everyone was using that connects you to random people. An older guy asked us for photos of our feet for $200. It wasn’t anything sexual for us, so we did it and he put $200 in a PayPal account. It felt like it was a bit creepy so we didn’t do it again, but I would if I needed the money.”
On Instagram, aged 16: “An older man offered me $1000 if I would send him my school shoes. I didn’t do it because I needed my school shoes.”
On Instagram, aged 17: “A guy asked me if I would sell my clothes for $1000. There are so many examples [of] being offered money for ‘companionship’ or because I’m pretty. They say [there’ll be] no sex.”
At a high school in Sydney, aged 14: “A classmate called me a ‘gorilla’ at lunch [for my body hair].”
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
Survivors of abuse can find support by calling Bravehearts at 1800 272 831 or the Blue Knot Foundation at 1300 657 380. The Kids Helpline is 1800 55 1800.