What’s Current: One in three UK schoolgirls report being sexually harassed in public while in uniform

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

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  • A third of UK schoolgirls surveyed reported sexual harassment in public while wearing their school uniform, while two thirds said they’ve been subjected to unwanted sexual attention in public.
  • The UK feminist group, Level Up, has released a media guide focusing on more dignified reporting on domestic violence, particularly warning against headlines that seem to minimize responsibility for the perpetrator.
  • The father of a sexual offense and stalking survivor details the numerous ways police in Glasgow failed to protect his daughter, or make any effort to rein in the perpetrator:

“Caitie was told that as there was to be no interview there would be no charge, and as there was no charge there would be no conviction.

Between the time of the offence and last weekend, the offender stalked Caitie at work up to 10 times — walking past her place of employment, staring at her, circling her, waiting around, and watching her. Last weekend was breaking point for her. The offender arrived at Silverburn again and walked around the concession stand where she works three times.”

  • Canadian military officials say the increase of sexual assault reports in the service indicate the system for reporting is improving, not that the rate of assault is increasing.
  • A trans-identified woman is calling for Canadian Blood Services to change its screening policy after telling her they had to consider her as female and ask whether she’d been pregnant recently in order to avoid potentially fatal complications in a recipient.
Natasha Chart
Natasha Chart

Natasha Chart is an online organizer and feminist living in the United States. She does not recant her heresy.

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  • Midori

    I’m not from the UK, but from Japan and also had to wear a school uniform for most of my school life and let me tell you, the sexual harassment and sexual assault rates were and still are crazily high. Foreigners always talk about how safe Japan is, but that’s only because most girls and women don’t report sexual crimes, because nobody cares.

    The last story makes my blood boil…the entitlement of these people is incredible: “What do you mean I’m female? I use he/him pronouns and have a beard, so I can’t be female!” It doesn’t matter how many cross-sex hormones, you take and how much plastic surgery you get, YOU WERE BORN FEMALE AND THEREFORE WILL ALWAYS BE FEMALE. Your blood doesn’t care about your little gender identity. Also, the doctors asked these questions for your own damn protection and the protection of other patients!

    There is a simple solution to this problem: If you can’t deal with reality, STOP donating blood!

    • Deborah

      “There is a simple solution to this problem: If you can’t deal with reality, STOP donating blood!”

      Seriously. If you can’t stand the concept that blood is not except from sex/hormone differences then a.) you’re an idiot who needs basic schooling in biology and b.) an asshole who doesn’t give a shit if your biological matter fucks up someone else. No one needs that particular blood, friend, get over yourself.

  • Why girls in school uniforms? I don’t think that pedophile’s or teen fetishist are alone in this predation. Nor do I think this was true prior to online porn’s making it a major category for its massive porn hungry audience.

    What’s central here is that very few males, if any, are this or that kind of fetishist. That’s a distraction. It’s rather that men have a full array of sexual fantasies at their whim, and that they choose the one that fits the moment, because objectification is a boundless entitlement.

    I’m sure this fantasy is very popular in online porn… the whole idea of teens, budding feminine features, freshness, innocence, trust, virginity, short skirts, all mark their difference, their preciousness, their opposition to both whores and maleness.

    (Of course, this so-called “soft porn” fantasy of sex with a school girl probably leads directly to a full gamut of incest porn tabs)

    So, like all porn, it carries right out into the streets, and into the lives of girls and young women–as we see in this British study, and would be seen in all studies in every country.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It is fucking ridiculous that girls’ uniforms are skirts. Are we not allowed to be warm??? Good lord. (And yes, I think it would mean less sexual harassment, seeing as those outfits have been fully pornified in our culture…. At least girls should have the option to wear pants if they prefer.)

    • shy virago

      Yes!

  • shy virago

    Besides making it easy for males to harass and assault you, skirts make movement more difficult for girls: playing sports, running, climbing trees, riding bikes. If we didn’t have males to deal with, it wouldn’t matter.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Of course. Still, the fact girls have to wear skirts is ridiculous and sexist.

  • acommentator

    “I’m surprised trans people on opposite sex hormones are permitted to give blood at all.That strikes me as possibly dangerous to the recipients.”

    If it hard not to be cynical. Acknowledging that it is dangerous for recipients to get blood from people who have taken all those hormones may lead people to question why it is not even more dangerous for the blood donors to be taking the hormones in the first place.

  • lk

    I went to a private school for a few years and I always hated when my parents wanted to do errands right after school and I had to go out in public in my uniform.

    The leering, creepy long stares from grown ass men…the adult men who would wait till I walked away from my parents to hit on me/offer to give me their phone number so we could “talk”…despite the fact that I was clearly a CHILD….

    Re: Canadian Blood Services

    LOL…Transgender folk really cannot deal with the reality of biology can they. I really hope CBS does not change its policies because of the feelings of trans people. I went to the CBS site to read about the eligibility rules for trans individuals when it comes to blood donates.

    There is a section where they discuss how the criteria for blood donations in Canada compare to blood donations in the US: “To our knowledge, there are no uniform criteria in place in the U.S. However, based on our correspondence with medical directors at several large U.S. blood collection organizations, many are currently using sex assigned at birth to determine donor eligibility. Their concerns are similar to Canadian Blood Services’ in terms of the risks of TRALI, particularly for trans men, and HIV, particularly for trans women.” 

    This makes sense. Why should medical information about donations for blood be based on feelings/identity and not biological reality?

    https://blood.ca/en/blood/am-i-eligible/trans-individuals

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, skirts aren’t the problem. The problem is that those particular uniforms have been sexualized/pornified. All my friends who went to private school had to wear skirts.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No idea why it ended up in spam but thanks for letting me know! Have freed it.

  • Hanakai

    Your assumptions are incorrect. The sexualized view of schoolgirls and schoolgirls in uniforms is not confined to North America. School girl fetishistic perversions are very common in Japan and worldwide. This sexualization of schoolgirls in uniform is a paraphilia, a perversion and is really a subset of pedophilia. The uniforms are a sign of childhood and innocence and that is what pedophiliac perverts choose to find sexually attractive and arousing. There are plenty of pedophiles in the UK, in North America, in Europe, in Asia.

    And Europe is far more pornified that the USA, in the sense that many European countries have normalized prostitution and sex trafficking, legalizing and legitimizing them. Germany, Spain, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Greece, Indonesia, Holland, India. By legalizing the buying of sex, those countries are saying that it is OK to buy women, to rent women’s vaginas, to treat women as prostituted commodities. Too many European governments patently condone the prostitution and exploitation of women and reduce sex to a commercial transaction.

    The illegality of prostitution in the USA is way that the government is saying: It is not OK to buy women, this is not what we want for our daughters, we do not condone the prostituting of women, we do not want men or women thinking prostitution is fine, good and normal. Obviously I am aware of the critiques of laws making prostitution illegal, but frankly I prefer illegality to legality, as legality makes it far more widespread (E.g., Spain now has prostituted women working every street, some 800,000, many trafficked from Eastern Europe) and tells girls that prostitution is something they can aspire to. Obviously, the best model so far for eliminating prostitution, which I absolutely favor, is the Nordic model.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yeah, I’m sure they see schoolgirl porn in the UK, too…

    • Maria Gatti

      That is no longer the case in France in legal terms due to the efforts of some determined women in government and also in associations against the sex trade, though of course misogynist – and lucrative – cultural practices will not disappear as if by magic.

    • What Is This Feeling?

      Yes, it’s particularly bad in Japan. I didn’t mention it though as I was conscious of the length of my comment and besides, I didn’t have anything new to add to that which isn’t already common knowledge. What I was trying to say is that school uniform is a normal, everyday thing in the UK, whereas I’m aware that in the US, uniform is uncommon and usually only the preserve of private schools, and thus could be a factor in the ‘sexy Catholic schoolgirl’ trope. The commenters here seem to be mostly from the US and Canada and made references to experiencing harassment when in their private school/Catholic uniform, which I’m aware is highly sexualised in the US, whereas that kind of uniform is just a normal, ubiquitous, non-sexualised school uniform in the UK. I also attended school in Singapore and Switzerland for three years altogether and wore uniform in both schools. The uniforms were very similar to my UK ones, and there was no widespread sexualisation of uniform in either culture. I don’t doubt that there is school uniform porn out there, and I believe I’m also at fault here because I think I misunderstood what people meant when they referred to ‘pornification.’ I thought it meant that schoolgirls in uniform were being sexualised as if they were porn actresses (I don’t think I’m explaining this very well) something along those lines, but I now realise that’s not what was meant. Like I said, the figures in the British study reported one third of girls harassed while wearing school uniform, and *two thirds* harassed when *not* wearing uniform, which seems to have been overlooked.

      You may haven taken offence at my comment about the American puritan mentality, in which case I apologise, but I didn’t intend to insult anyone, and I’m aware that everyone isn’t the same, but I was thinking of things like the American reaction to the Janet Jackson nipple flashing incident, which was hilariously over the top, and something which wouldn’t have even raised an eyebrow in Europe. Also: things like the murders of abortion doctors in the US, the healthcare/contraception debate, the influence of the religious right on sex education, those four anti-abortion US teenagers who were deported from Ireland for lying to obtain their visas, when their real intention for entering Ireland was to interfere with a foreign referendum on legalising abortion, things like that. Right wing Christians seem to wield a huge amount of power in the US, which just seems creepy and bizarre to us here in Europe, and is one of the major factors behind the perception of the US as a very puritan country.

      Feel free to criticise Europe and Europeans as much as you like. I don’t take it personally; in fact I completely agree with you on everything you said about Europe and prostitution, and I also support the Nordic model.