“We are f**king knackered.”
This was a comment from a young person who we were talking to about the kinds of abuse she and her friends experienced on a day to day basis. In the street, at college, out shopping, anywhere. She told us that this has happened from “generation to generation, from matriarch to matriarch” and “nothing ever changes”.
Shocking isn’t it? There is a generation of young women and girls to whom abuse and sexual violence is normalised. Let’s look at what that means.
Ofsted commissioned a review into peer on peer abuse in schools and colleges and interviewed 800 young people. From the females they interviewed, they found the following:
- 92% had experienced sexist name-calling
- 81% had rumours about their sexual activity
- 80% received unwanted or inappropriate comments of a sexual nature
- 88% had been sent pictures or videos they did not want to see
- 80% had been put under pressure to provide sexual images of themselves
- 73% had pictures or videos that they sent being shared more widely without their knowledge or consent
- 59% had been photographed or videoed without their knowledge or consent
- 79% had experienced sexual assault of any kind
- 68% had felt pressured to do sexual things that they did not want to
- 64% had experienced unwanted touching
This is the behaviour that girls and young women felt was ‘normalised’.
And yet, it’s the girls that are told what they have to do to stop this happening. Don’t drink too much, don’t wear a short skirt, don’t walk alone, don’t leave your drink, don’t…don’t…don’t’…..and the girls are ‘f**king knackered”.
So we got thinking, who’s talking to, challenging and supporting boys around this issue?
In this Sexual Violence Awareness Week, we are working with Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership and 5 colleges across Merseyside. We’re developing a series of sessions to raise awareness of the problem with a strong focus on the role of men and boys in calling out and tackling abuse.
Keep following the blog to find out our progress and interviews with people involved in all aspects of the project.
If your staff, students or organisation would benefit from training around issues of sexual violence and abuse, contact us today to find out more.