Sexual misconduct at Jackson-Reed

A fleeting hand or leering look, a touch here, brushed away quickly: sexual harassment is commonplace at Jackson-Reed.

According to End Violence Against Women, an organization that campaigns governments to make substantive changes to prevent violence against women, one third of 16-18 year-old girls say they have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school. Additionally, 59 percent of young women between the ages of 13 and 21 say they have faced some form of sexual harassment at school in the past year.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome or inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or social situation.

Jackson-Reed’s hallways are busy, and many girls have reported boys grabbing them inappropriately in the hallways. 

“Since the hallways are so crowded, they barely have a chance to see who it was,” explained an anonymous respondent to a survey about sexual misconduct.

In 2018, Jackson-Reed’s Student Government Association had organized activities to educate the student body on sexual assault in the past. While these activities did come to fruition, not much has been done by our school since then to produce community wide initiatives or events.

Addressing sexual misconduct may not be Jackson-Reed’s top priority, but it is important to keep the community informed and not turn away from the incidents that do happen on school grounds or between students.

It’s also extremely important to note that sexual misconduct can happen to anyone, not only girls. Men are also often victims of sexual misconduct. When someone says no, no matter their gender, it means no.  

Sexual misconduct at school can take away one of the only places a student may feel safe. School offers a welcoming and secure environment, but when that security is taken away it can feel disconcerting.

Additionally, the fear that comes with experiencing sexual misconduct can be paralyzing. Another respondent explained a time in which they were yelled at through an open window on campus to “put on some pants.” They explained the fear they felt when recognizing that the perpetrators might find them after.

Another incident involved a student getting referred to by “Calvin Klein” by a male administrator as she walked out of the building because her underwear strap rode above her pants. The incident left the student feeling weird, and the comment should have never been made in the first place. 

Some environments are beyond Jackson-Reed’s control. Rape culture exists in the Jackson-Reed community outside of school hours too. We, as a student body, cannot continue to ignore the misconduct that happens outside of school property. It is critical to hold our friends and those around us accountable for what is done outside of school hours. 

Change continues with us. The student body must take action, both in the walls of the school and outside, to prevent sexual misconduct. •