Trigger warning: Before reading this post, please be aware that it contains descriptions of childhood sexual molestation.
I was molested at year 8 (12) by a year 11 (16). It happened everyday for a month, it may not seem as much, but for a child its very scary and confusing as it happened in such a public place and I didn’t understand why and how it was happening. Unfortunately what happened to me I believe now could have been prevented, as it happened in a school, an environment that should have been safe for all pupils. With the way the teachers told me “boys will be boys” I was convinced I was at fault and exaggerating. I would make a million of excuses for him in my head when it was happening, just like the teachers did. I just wanted someone to reassure me or help me but I was too scared to just scream out for help. I was in denial and just in shock. There would be teachers and students everywhere and no adult came to help me, just a few friends saw but we were so young that they didn’t know how they could help, it wasn’t there responsibility anyway, when teachers were constantly made aware of the issue. As where the abuse happened was in such a busy environment with so much noise and full of people, it happened in the school canteen while queuing to get some food and he would stand behind me so close to me while invading my personal space and touch me. I thought the teachers saw it and didn’t think anything of what was happening. Maybe it’s just all in my head I used to think. But one friend that saw what happened made me feel like I wasn’t exaggerating like what was happening was wrong.
I’d like to think that it ended because I did manage to stop it, as only a child I see now how brave I was for never giving up I went to my head of year almost everyday after school and tell about it, unfortunately I didn’t get the help I thought I would by my teacher as a head of year she didn’t keep me safe, I would tell her what would happen and what he would do and how that would make me feel. When speaking to her I would tell her how uncomfortable I felt when he would touch me under and over the clothes, at first I was too embarrassed to say what else he would do but he use his fingers and hand to hurt me. This would be over my clothes and he would be behind me, other times he would touch me under my clothes I would feel so unclean and unsafe. I would make physical signals that I didn’t feel okay with this such as trying to move from him or placing my bag over my bum as this is where he could not touch me but he would always find a way. Sometimes I’d leave the line like to the back of the line as thinking he won’t come now, but he would always find me and come behind me and continue where he left off.
I thought I’d ask my teacher as she will know what to do, and I went with a friend but at first I’d get responses of there’s not a lot I can do without a name or a firm description, other times there wouldn’t even be eye contact I felt like she didn’t care. I tried to explain what would happen but at the same time I was scared if he would get in to trouble or that somehow it was my fault, I just didn’t want it to get worse and that he could hurt me even more. It eventually stopped because one of my friends saw it happening and got my teacher for her to see it and if she simply asked me in front of him what happened and I said very quietly he just keeps touching me and she spoke to him only a few steps away from me and I could only see that it was a few second conversation. She never spoke to me again or told my parents about it. It did stop after that but I felt so empty, so dirty and so used. I didn’t understand why I felt like that as it did stop but i couldn’t help the feeling of sadness rushing in I just didn’t understand why she didn’t reassure me. I was a child that was crying out for help and someone to just tell me that he’s going to get consequences and that it wasn’t my fault. But I got nothing. I changed in so many ways, I started to hate going to school just the thought of a Monday morning made me sick, my grades got worse and I just stopped caring. I became angry which was out of the ordinary; I was never the type of child to just become angry like that I would cry or shout at any little thing. I didn’t trust any adult only a few friends knew at time. Even after the touching stopped I was still followed inside the school I felt so trapped. But I stopped going upstairs where it happened for a while. A while later when I did go always with a friend to make me feel safer but when a male would be behind me the anxiety would be too much so I’d leave. Even at 6th form I still felt panicked and would only go up with a trusted friend.
One time when he was in 6th form he taught my class, I was forced to sit down and look at him and just hear what he had to say. This molester could potentially go on to teach other young girls like myself, isn’t that a scary thought? I started to hate that lesson after. It changed how I viewed things, like myself and other people I saw the world as a dangerous place and that everyone wanted to hurt me. I felt so ashamed, so I didn’t go into much detail of what he would do to my friends. During this time id get bullied at school about my appearance, and was already a victim of emotional abuse by a family member. I stopped looking after myself I just felt like an object that nobody cared about about. At home I wasn’t that talkative, happy child anymore I became isolated and just stayed in my bedroom and only come out if it was needed, and my parents were concerned but I was just silent for years because I thought I didn’t matter, and somehow had blocked some of the memories and thought that I was exaggerating as it was only touching nothing more, but now I see that it was still wrong. When i would be at school I tried my best to fake my emotions by making everyone laugh because i didn’t want to lose my friends, but when i was alone all that anger and sadness came back and I couldn’t fake it. Many things have happened after that good and bad I am trying to move on and getting professional help as I felt it was time to talk about it all. I have support of friends and family, and I did reach out in 6th form and speak about what happened and did get support, but unfortunately there was nothing they do because my year 8 teacher did not report it or put it in the system so I have no evidence of what had been said, which I had a feeling about but it still broke me. But I am slowly healing and trying to look ahead with support and wanting to help other victims who have gone through traumatic experiences which is why I have started an instagram page called @howitchangedme to allow victims to share their story of any trauma they have faced.