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I want to raise awareness but worried about family reaction

One-in-a-millionOne-in-a-million Posts: 605 Incredible Poster
Hi been a while since I've been here so hey :)

Anyway some of you may know my story of being sexually bullied at high school. I won't go into the full story as that isn't what this post is really about.
But I remember how humiliated,ashamed, scared, guilty, upset etc. I felt. I've wanted to go into schools and raise awareness about sexual bullying and harassment. To let others going through this that they are not alone and they can do something about it! 

I never did due to not knowing how to go about it.

however a recent event has made me realise this could save someone.
My friends younger sister is in high school and my friend started to notice changes in her behaviour she had become very withdrawn, stopped going out with her friends, wasn't eating properly and seemed down a lot. 

When she asked her what was going on she told her she was being sexually harassed at school by some boys at school. While my friend tried to comfort her she kept saying that no one could understand.
My friend rang me asking if I would talk to her (my friend knows what happened with me.)
I told her I would but she should ask her sister first (I know my friends sister quite well.)

Anyway she agreed but wanted to talk to me alone which my friend respected. Anyway she told me about what was going on and I told her I understood what was going on because it happened to me.
She asked if I could tell her what happened which I did. She told me she thought it was only her and was glad to hear that what she was feeling was normal and admitted she had thought about death. Something I also did not so much suicide (Bordering on that way) as I had  thoughts about what it would be like if I wasn't here.
When she asked what I did about it I told her that it took me along time but I eventually reported it and got help and support. 

not long after my friend rang me a few days later saying her sister had reported the bullying/harassment and that they had an appointment with the head to get it sorted out. Her sister then thanked me for supporting her and said I gave her the strength to speak out.

I know this happens a lot at schools but it doesn't get reported. I want to raise awareness in schools, my school being one of them. But problem is one of my cousins daughters attends that school and while I am no longer scared or embarrassed about what happened if she goes home and tells her mum I was there and then it would get back to my nan and mum who probably wouldn't like the idea of me telling a group of teenagers my experience as the majority of my family would find out. they wouldn't be embarrassed about it but probably wouldn't like the idea of it.

I don't know what to do...


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    EyepatchEyepatch Posts: 666 Incredible Poster

    Well done for helping her! Its so great that you stepped forward to help someone in need and even greater that you want to help more. :) 

    If possible, try to arrange a meeting with the teachers of the school, explain to them that one of their students (you don't have to say her name) was being sexually harassed and you are here to help make sure students know that sexual harassment is unacceptable behaviour. Perhaps you could have posters designed and ask the school to put them up, or make an video about your experiance that doesn't show your face and ask that they play it during a school assembly. You could also encourage them to cover sexual harassment and consent during sex education classes. Be honest and clear with the teachers that they are clearly not doing enough or this young lady wouldn't have been put into such an awful situation. You can tell them that the schools reputation is on the line, as reports of sexual harassment could go viral and parents don't want to send their kids to schools with a bad reputation.   

    You could also try to share posters and information about where to get help for sexual harassment online or put posters up in bus stops, even chat to parents or hand out leaflets whilst the children are being picked up from school, (ask the local council or the school for permission first)

    Well done for making a difference and I hope you manage to do more in the near future.
    Let us know how it goes :)  
    "Sometimes we find ourselves stuck between choosing what is right, and what is easy." 
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    Lucy307Lucy307 Posts: 1,171 Wise Owl
    Hey @One-in-a-million

    Wow, that must be so rewarding knowing how much you have helped her! Well done you!!

    Totally understand why you wouldn't choose to tell your whole family about it/want them to know. But life happens, these things happen and it sounds like it has partly made you the lovely person you are today. I wonder if you can run the idea past your mum to see how she reacts to the idea? To be honest if one of my family members was proposing to do what you're doing, I'd be brimming with pride. What do you think?

    Let us know how you get on. We're lucky to have people like you in the world who want to help and enjoy helping others <3

    - Lucy
    Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend
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    One-in-a-millionOne-in-a-million Posts: 605 Incredible Poster
    Hi guys thank you so much for your advice it sounds really good. It really does feel good knowing that I have been able
    to help someone to speak out.

     I know all to well how hard that is, it has taken a long time to get where I am today. I’m not at all saying it will be something I would forget but I know it’s just a bad memory. I think my main reason for not doing this before was part of still feeling embarrassed about it which I no longer do. The only thing I need to deal with no is being touched around my waist as I can’t stand it and does cause a few seconds of panic but I think it’s heading in the right direction.

     I think posters are a fantastic idea and I could even include support sites such as the mix, childline ect. And giving a story without showing my face is a really good way of sharing a success story while keeping my identity confidential but still showing support and letting people know they are not alone. 

    I think the problem is we see sexual bullying all the time but it’s often pushed to one side and ignored without knowing what is actually going on. 

    I think you have both made some amazing points and come up with some fantastic ideas :)
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    Lucy307Lucy307 Posts: 1,171 Wise Owl
    Great to hear @One-in-a-million. You should be really proud of yourself for doing this, it's really lovely :)<3
    Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend
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    One-in-a-millionOne-in-a-million Posts: 605 Incredible Poster
    Thank you, I’ve actually spoken to my younger cousins about it. I told them breifly what happened to me. I explained that I never wanted them to go through what I did and that I never want them to feel they have no one to turn to. They were quite surprised when I told them but it also made them think. They started telling me things that happen to some of the girls at school such as boys trying to look up other girls skirts, making flirty comments towards others and other things. I explained that both boys and girls can be effected by this and both boys and girls can be the bully. 

    Im glad it got them thinking about things and realising that actually it can be considered harassment and bullying.
     It’s horrible to say but I think some of it can be blamed on how we except certain genders to behave and just brush it off saying “boys will be boys/girls will be girls.”

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    Lucy307Lucy307 Posts: 1,171 Wise Owl
    @One-in-a-million, that's so great! That just goes to show how much talking and sharing experiences can make an impact if it made them think about their own experiences at school. It makes a difference - they will realise that they CAN stick up for themselves and not just put up with things because, as you say, boys will be boys/girls will be girls - and that's not an excuse at all is it! 

    It's so easy to just accept things and blank them out, it's harder but SO much better for us to face into issues and experiences, think about them and be able to change things. 

    Well done for sharing your story, carry on doing it as much as you're comfortable with. You are making a difference <3:relieved: 
    Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend
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