Doe faces harassment throughout high school

Senior+Jane+Doe+has+been+sexually+harassed+throughout+her+high+school+career.+%0A%2AName+changed+to+protect+identity

Oziel Valdez

Senior Jane Doe has been sexually harassed throughout her high school career. *Name changed to protect identity

Grace Miller, Page Editor

To some, it’s easy to confuse outward appearance for who a person is. Based on body image, and blurred generalizations, people find it easy to pass judgment on others. Instead of defining a person based on who they are and what they stand for, people confuse and create slurs for others on the basis of subjective things. This is the case for senior Jane Doe*, whose body has made her “slutty” in the eyes of others.

“A lot of people assume [I’m a slut] because of my body type and also just how liberal I am and how I conduct myself,” Doe said. “[People assume] that I’m a slut or sleeping around a lot, [even though I’m not].”

Doe has experienced sexual harassment based on assumptions people make about her. She has not only been harassed through the things people have said about her, but the way they act.

“I worked at a place two summers ago, and I would have older male customers and coworkers making some very uncomfortable comments towards me,” Doe said. “One of the coworkers, who was about 65, told me I should be scared when I turn 18.”

For a long time, Doe has experienced these side comments about her physicality or the way she presents herself, but it was during her sophomore year that the comments became more aggressive.

“I went through a really difficult experience sophomore year in a regular class. The guys in there were just so vile and nasty in their comments towards me,” Doe said. “In order to get past it, I really relied on talking to my friends and listening to other people tell me that’s not who I am and that’s not the basis of what kind of person I am… It’s really not your fault how other people choose to perceive you based on a very limited knowledge of who you are and what you’ve been through.”

In the two years since she has been in that class, Doe has learned to surround herself with friends and supporters who help her stand up to the things people presume about her. Unlike during her sophomore year, she has even begun to learn to stand up for herself.

“I really struggled to tell people off or cut people out of my life who are hurting me or just to ever be rude to anybody until I went through an experience with a friend who was treating me in a similar way to how I was being treated in that class,” Doe said. “I eventually realized that I was becoming a person I didn’t like based on the treatment I was receiving from that person. I grew past that and I’ve tried to focus more on myself this year. [I’m] trying to focus on learning how to cope with situations like that because I’ve been sexually harassed, and it’s taken me learning how to tell people off to not be so scared of that kind of situation.”

Once she worked through methods of standing up to those she feels oppressed by, Doe was able to grow past and learn from the experiences she has gone through. 

“Last year I thought that my life was over with everything that was happening, but then I regrouped and figured out where I needed to go mentally this year. I am in a much better place then I have been for most of the rest of high school,” Doe said. “It’s been a little lonely, but I just keep in mind that next year I am going to be in college, and I’m going to be living my best life.”

When reflecting on what she has been through, Doe feels that often females are judged more than males. She believes that her gender has a say in who people expect her to be.

“I think we have this double standard within our world of how we view what guys do compared to what girls do. I know plenty of guys who are absolutely wild, but I know girls who are much more reserved and are called sluts and whores and all of that kind of stuff just because of a few traits about themselves,” Doe said. 

Doe believes that the opinions of others shouldn’t have a say in how you live your life if you’re living your life in a way that makes you happy. She doesn’t want her actions to be defined by who others think she is.

“I wish that I could just do what I want to do without having to deal with people basing their opinions of me off of my [actions]. Not in the sense that I don’t want to face repercussions for bad decisions, but I think we [shouldn’t] have to deal with people’s negative comments or views about our personal lives…I think it’s perfectly fine to do whatever you want to do with your body, [because] it’s your body. You can sleep with however many people you want as long as you’re doing it in a safe and healthy way. Putting [a] disgusting tone over things like sexualities is really harmful to youth and our society in general,” Doe said.

As a way to move past and justify her position in how people should act, Doe has developed methods of coping that allow her to not base her opinion of herself on what others say.

“I think I’ve just learned not to trust people as much, which sounds like a bad thing, but I used to [share a lot with] everybody,” Doe said. “That was honestly bringing me more harm than good, so learning to have a face to keep myself from experiencing those kinds of things again has been really helpful.”

Even though she has found ways to work past the things people have said about her, Doe wants others to learn from her experiences and wants all those who are also called slurs and face sexual harassment to know that the past is not a determiner for the future.

“It sounds so cliche, but it really will get better,” Doe said.

 

*Name changed to protect identity

Print Friendly, PDF & Email