I am currently working on a new article which is going to focus on an upsetting but important subject. My article is going to be about the sexual harassment experienced by teenage girls on public transport (buses, tubes, trains etc).
I am writing about this because it is really horribly common, and yet no one wants to talk about it. Sexual harassment isn’t pleasant at any time, but it can be a lot scarier as a teenager. These guys are typically twice your age, and somehow they think that even though they may well have children at home it’s nevertheless totally acceptable to come onto a 14-17-year-old girl.
Note: This article is going to focus on girls but if you’re a male who has experienced unwanted sexual attention as a teenager on public transport by either sex I also want to hear from you. The same goes for girls who were harassed by women.
These encounters can be terrifying. They can keep people living in fear for years. And yet somehow even though this has happened to many, many young girls at one time or another still whenever I hear about public sexual harassment it always refers to adult women, perhaps because they know that they can talk about it. Sexual harassment is an important issue full stop, but I want to bring the experiences of younger women out into the open.
The stats ignore younger people
“London, United Kingdom: In a poll conducted by the Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) Coalition in London, 43 percent of young women ages 18-34 had experienced street harassment just during the past year alone. The total sample size was 1047 adults and the poll was conducted in early March 2012.”
This is an important poll, but the youngest age to participate is 18. From my experience and from talking to other people, I’ve found that a large number of girls aged 13-17 have also experienced these things. This is vitally important because teenage girls are more vulnerable, less confident and even less likely to want to report it.
I want to show how disgusting these harassers really are. To show adults it is not okay to treat children like that. To show that it’s not a 14-year-olds fault that they have somehow become catnip to creeps. To show that young girls are not alone in this experience, that people will understand, and that they don’t have to just put up with it because it’s something that ‘just happens’.
How you can help
I need your help to write this article because I want to show how widespread this thing is. I understand this is a sensitive topic, and all contributions will remain anonymous in the article itself, but if you don’t want your identity known at all that is absolutely fine. I believe you can leave an anonymous comment in the section below, or if you would prefer you can send me an email at Sophialb1993@gmail.com. No need to give your name or say anything you don’t want to.
I just the age you were at the time, a brief description of what happened, and what you think we can do to make young people safer on public transport going forward.