by Melinda Tankard Reist, Contributing Writer for AnaiRhoads.org
In the past couple of weeks I’ve met or heard from young girls whose experiences give further disturbing insight into just how bad things are for girls right now.
A 12-year-old girl approached me after I addressed the question ‘Are girls being treated as sex objects?’ before an audience in Sydney’s western suburbs. She revealed she was being molested by boys at school. It had gone on every day for two weeks. She hadn’t told anyone. She asked the boys not to do it. They ignored her. Her eyes brimming with tears, she wanted to know how she could make it stop, or if that was even possible.
An 11-year-old girl in a NSW country town was the only one in her friendship group who had not yet had sex. Her friends had made arrangements for her to lose her virginity at the annual show. She didn’t feel she was ready and was looking for excuses she could give to get out of turning up. Was there any way out for her or would she have to give in?
Two 14-year-old girls told me about multiple unpleasant sexual hook-ups, pressured by older boys into acts they felt bad about after. They feared resisting and felt powerless to make it stop.
None of these girls seemed aware that they had a right not to be harassed, not to be molested and assaulted, not to be coerced into unwanted sexual activity. It was so common for themselves and their friends to be treated this way. And they feared repercussions, being ostracised, causing a ‘fuss’ and attracting attention for making a complaint.
Fortunately, a young policewoman had just introduced herself to me. She was able to assist the first girl. An educator was trying to help the second. And the 14-year-olds were looking at getting further help and advice.
What a world our girls are inhabiting. They are having to comprehend and negotiate difficult things at ages when they shouldn’t have to. They are being systematically preyed upon. Here are two more examples in as many days.
Porno pic cyber-bullying at ‘epidemic level’
CYBER-bullying is reaching epidemic levels, says a Melbourne youth worker, amid new claims about young girls being pressured to provide pornographic images of themselves.
Police are investigating a case at St Joseph’s College boys school in Geelong, in which it is believed a computer hacker stole an older student’s Facebook identity and then pressured a grade five pupil to provide pornographic images of himself to a Facebook “friend”…
Youth worker Les Twentyman has also revealed that he was told about a girl in year eight at a school in Victoria’s east recently being lured into performing sex acts with year 12 boys that were filmed and posted on the Internet. Read more.
Police warn on ‘juvie hunting’
POLICE and teachers have grave concerns about an emerging youth phenomenon dubbed “juvie hunting”, where older teenage boys groom younger girls for sex.
Sources say juvenile hunting is rife in Perth schools where boys aged 16 and 17 target younger teenage girls in a contest driven by popularity and status.
The Sunday Times understands that teachers at several Perth 2schools, including Sacred Heart College in Sorrento, lectured Year 12 boys about the possibility of criminal charges if they have sex with a girl younger than 16, the legal age of consent…
Police had received more reports of offences against children since mandatory reporting came into place last year. Read full story here.
Preyed upon and pressured to provide porn images. Preyed upon and molested. Preyed upon and forced to provide sex acts. Girls are targetted for all this at younger ages and many boys seems to think they are entitled to do whatever they like to them.
We have to turn this around. Girls need to be informed of their rights. They need to demand an end to this. And the boys who act in these ways need to know it is illegal. And if they don’t stop, those in authority over them must act quickly to make them see how serious this is and that there really are consequences.
I’d really like to hear less of these accounts. I’d like to hear some good stories from girls.