top of page

MeToo, Social Media & Vulnerable School Girls

Trigger Warning: sexual harassment, abuse, predatory behavior




Back in summer 2020, allegations of harassment and predatory behaviour were shared on social media against certain O&A Level teachers. It was later found out that in multiple cases, complaints had been made to school admin who had ignored the students, or victim-blamed them instead. However, in some cases, the social media outcry led to the firing of some of the harassers and state action against them.

These incidents made me think back to when I was in 7th and 8th grade in an all-girls class, most of us had Facebook accounts at that point, but we never imagined using it in the way it is used now, as a tool for activism and accountability. We had an incredibly creepy music teacher, who would sometimes call individual students to the music room at the back of the school for 'practice'. For us, reporting him was not even an option because we didn't even know that was something we could do, or that if we did that, we would be taken seriously.

So, instead, we decided that no one would ever go to the music room alone, they would always go with at least two other girls, and in that way, we protected and supported ourselves as best as we could. The teacher would get pissed at the extra students showing up and often kick them out of the room, but we would just stand outside and make it known that we were there.

I share this experience because it isn't just my story, or that of my school friends, but the story of hundreds and thousands of school girls all over the world who are subjected to sexual abuse and violence in the process of getting an education. More often than not, there are no formal mechanisms to seek protection and register complaints. In such situations, female students lend support to and protect each other in whatever way they can.

I feel that the way the MeToo movement has utilized social media to expose harassers and empower victims is particularly relevant in this context because it has given female students another tool for protection by not only allowing them to share their stories of abuse but also giving them access to mental health resources, legal aid, and support networks. In the absence of school policies against sexual harassment, this is a good start, but it raises important questions about whether it is enough to protect students? especially given that there are millions of students across the world who have no access to social media or even the internet.

If 13 year old me had known that there was someplace/someone we could turn to for help on Facebook, someway we could put an end to the abuse, maybe our experiences from that time would have been very different. Maybe a bunch of 13-year-olds wouldn't have needed to accompany their friends to the music room, to lurk outside it to ensure that their friends did not become victims too.

25 views4 comments

4 Comments


The instance you mentioned is horrifying, and I completely agree with you when you question whether this is enough. When looking within our own community, male students were called out in spades during the rise of the movement, but after a year or so, I see no consequences being borne by most of them. In fact, their friends still support them, still run for council, and there is no concern raised. Regardless, it is beautiful that there is still just space for women to come out and speak, even if it is for their own peace of mind with little structural consequence. Seeing females, particularly students, be so strong is a lovely change from all these case studies we've seen…

Like

This is a very important topic. I truly believe that the Metoo movement is a great way to expose harassers and create awareness about such an important issue. It would have been great to see structural changes in harassment policies followed by the awareness the metoo movement creates but nonetheless, a great platform for women to come forward and expose the predators.

Like

pretty sad how relatable this post is for so so many people, especially women, But it is some source of comfort knowing that actual action is a plausible outcome now. Thanks so much for sharing this !

Like

Thank you for bringing this up. It is sad that stories like these resonate with so many of us but it makes me so very proud every time someone speaks up about such incidents. You are so right in pointing out the transformation social media has brought about. I remember when I was in 6th grade I used to be quite fond of sports but my PE teacher was quite like your music teacher. Even as 12 year olds we had him figured out and complained to our teacher. Instead of him having any repercussions girls were told to not go play in PE. I still wonder how many girls could have been better at different sports had we ha…

Like
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page