top of page

What's Safe?

Updated: Sep 23, 2021


“How’re we going to be safe going back to school with some people vaccinated and others not?” Angela sat on the living room floor next to her friend Perry.


“Wear masks?” Perry said scrolling through their phone. “I’m more nervous about the bullying myself…. It’s been a relief not dealing with it this past year.”


“But you dealt with it on Zoom,” Angela said.


“Yeah, but that’s not the same as walking through the halls at school with people all around. I’m nervous for my little sister too…less about bullying and more about sexual harassment.

We’re seniors and know the scene. How do we prepare her without scaring her?”


“What about that group that helps students when they’ve been sexually harassed?” Angela’s mom called from her office off the living room.


“You mean, BHSSH… Berkeley High School Stop Harassing?” Angela asked. “They’re cool…. you can definitely contact them and get help if you’ve been sexually harassed. Freshmen, like Perry’s sister, can find out about them at the club fairs during orientation…she can even join.”


“You know what we need?” Perry began laughing. “A vaccination against sexual harassment!”


Angela laughed too. “But we’d have the same problem ….. who’s safe and who isn’t?”


Angela’s mom stopped working and joined her daughter and Perry in the living room. The two friends had been close since middle school, but they had become even closer after Perry encountered bullying for being queer. Angela became their fiercest advocate.


“How does someone get in touch with BHSSH?” Angela’s mom continued her probe.


“Mostly through their Instagram account,” Perry said. “They used to have this story-a-day where survivors shared their stories anonymously. You can still read them if you scroll down their page. It’s a good way to learn about harassment, because at first it can look like innocent flirting.”


“Yeah, this friend of ours got cornered and sexually assaulted as a freshman,” Angela added, “by this cute guy… a senior and an athlete. He flattered our friend with compliments before luring her off to a stairwell on campus.”


“What’d the school do?” Angela’s mom now felt sick to her stomach.


“Nothing,” Perry said. “Most kids don’t talk about this stuff…they don’t know what to do or where to go for help, especially if they’re young….”

“And if you tell someone,” Angela interrupted, “and he’s popular, then you face possible harassment from him or his friends. No one’s going to believe a freshman girl.”


“Or someone queer,” Perry added. “It’s harassment culture at school just like outside of school.”


Angela’s mom looked at these two beautiful young people she had watched grow up together.

Her eyes became teary. “How can we do a better job of keeping you all safe?”


“The way you’ve been doing it,” Angela said. “Like how you’re listening to us right now without judgment…. and believing us.”


“And BHSSH is a good start,” Perry said.

“But that’s not enough,” Angela’s mom persisted. “What’s the school’s policy about this and how is that enforced? How do we protect our students from all kinds of harassment? I think I have to get more involved even though you two are graduating.”


Resources:

#bhsstopharassing- Berkeley High School Stop Harassing (BHSSH) is a school club which meets weekly on campus during lunch period. BHSSH also works with school administrators and District Title IX staff to improve the school climate as well as improve the response and support for students who’ve been harassed.

#thewheelofconsent (bettymartin.org)

#join1love (signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships)


What’s Safe?


“How’re we going to be safe going back to school with some people vaccinated and others not?” Angela sat on the living room floor next to her friend Perry.


“Wear masks?” Perry said scrolling through their phone. “I’m more nervous about the bullying myself…. It’s been a relief not dealing with it this past year.”


“But you dealt with it on Zoom,” Angela said.


“Yeah, but that’s not the same as walking through the halls at school with people all around. I’m nervous for my little sister too…less about bullying and more about sexual harassment.

We’re seniors and know the scene. How do we prepare her without scaring her?”


“What about that group that helps students when they’ve been sexually harassed?” Angela’s mom called from her office off the living room.


“You mean, BHSSH… Berkeley High School Stop Harassing?” Angela asked. “They’re cool…. you can definitely contact them and get help if you’ve been sexually harassed. Freshmen, like Perry’s sister, can find out about them at the club fairs during orientation…she can even join.”


“You know what we need?” Perry began laughing. “A vaccination against sexual harassment!”


Angela laughed too. “But we’d have the same problem ….. who’s safe and who isn’t?”


Angela’s mom stopped working and joined her daughter and Perry in the living room. The two friends had been close since middle school, but they had become even closer after Perry encountered bullying for being queer. Angela became their fiercest advocate.


“How does someone get in touch with BHSSH?” Angela’s mom continued her probe.


“Mostly through their Instagram account,” Perry said. “They used to have this story-a-day where survivors shared their stories anonymously. You can still read them if you scroll down their page. It’s a good way to learn about harassment, because at first it can look like innocent flirting.”


“Yeah, this friend of ours got cornered and sexually assaulted as a freshman,” Angela added, “by this cute guy… a senior and an athlete. He flattered our friend with compliments before luring her off to a stairwell on campus.”


“What’d the school do?” Angela’s mom now felt sick to her stomach.


“Nothing,” Perry said. “Most kids don’t talk about this stuff…they don’t know what to do or where to go for help, especially if they’re young….”

“And if you tell someone,” Angela interrupted, “and he’s popular, then you face possible harassment from him or his friends. No one’s going to believe a freshman girl.”


“Or someone queer,” Perry added. “It’s harassment culture at school just like outside of school.”


Angela’s mom looked at these two beautiful young people she had watched grow up together.

Her eyes became teary. “How can we do a better job of keeping you all safe?”


“The way you’ve been doing it,” Angela said. “Like how you’re listening to us right now without judgment…. and believing us.”


“And BHSSH is a good start,” Perry said.

“But that’s not enough,” Angela’s mom persisted. “What’s the school’s policy about this and how is that enforced? How do we protect our students from all kinds of harassment? I think I have to get more involved even though you two are graduating.”


Resources:

#bhsstopharassing- Berkeley High School Stop Harassing (BHSSH) is a school club which meets weekly on campus during lunch period. BHSSH also works with school administrators and District Title IX staff to improve the school climate as well as improve the response and support for students who’ve been harassed.

)#letstalkaboutconsent

#join1love (signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships)


27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

There Are Some Nice Guys

There Are Some Nice Guys Michael emerged from his room after what seemed like hours to Marie- all 6 feet, 3 inches, 220 pounds of him. He sauntered into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. “Somet

Comments


bottom of page