oday we were encouraged to explore gender inequalities.
We discussed the power dynamics in families, friendships, and communities. I was able to reflect on my own experiences and I felt safe enough to disclose that I had been sexually assaulted by a former student.
Initially, we were good friends, and we spent a lot of time together. After a few months, he started touching my thighs and making lewd comments about my chest. He would ask me to send him nude pictures, but I never did.
I told him repeatedly that I was uncomfortable with this behaviour, but the harassment carried on until he left the school. I had no idea who to speak to at school about the incidents and there was too much going on at home.
I wondered whether I was overthinking things. I was worried that a complaint would not be taken seriously. This session helped me recognise that I need support. I am thankful that my school chose to deliver the MENgage & EmpowHER programme. Without the support of the coordinator, I do not think I would have disclosed my experiences to the school.
I have now been allocated a counsellor. I was also able to talk about the physical and emotional abuse I have been subjected to at home and my history of self-harming. I feel a lot more supported than I did before. I feel like I am in a better place.
Leanne’s name has been changed to protect her identity. Images are for illustration purposes only.