This mother wasn't about to stand by and watch as her daughter's school tried to vilify her for standing up to a classmate who couldn't keep his hands to himself.
It's absolutely ridiculous how many times women experience mental, physical, and sexual harassment in their lives. Their childhood and innocence are often snatched away from them at a very young age as patriarchy's hold on society brushes aside their traumatic experiences as trivial. The everyday harassment they face at the hands of their peers are dismissed as playful things kids do—but only when the culprit is male. One mother, however, wasn't about to stand by and watch as her daughter's school tried to vilify her for standing up to a classmate who couldn't keep his hands to himself.
She recounted how her daughter—literally—hit back after the boy kept pulling her bra strap in class despite repeated pleas to stop. Even her reporting the behavior to the male teacher present in class at the time failed to make a difference as he merely asked her to "ignore it." Backed into a corner, the girl decided to take matters into her hands and punched the boy. Twice. The mother—who works as an A&E nurse—recounted how she was urgently called over to the school to resolve "an incident involving [her] daughter," where she found that authorities had taken a different stance than what she'd expected.
"We're not allowed our phones on us; they're to be kept in our lockers. A call for me comes into hospital reception on a private line," she explained. The person on the other end of the call informed her that he was a teacher from her daughter's school and that they needed her to come in as soon as possible. "Is she ill or injured? Can it wait until my shift is over in two hours?" she asked. She was then informed that her daughter had struck another pupil and that "it really is very serious."
"I go to the school and am ushered into the head’s office. I see my daughter, her head of year, a male teacher, the headmaster, a boy with blood around his nose and a red face, and his parents," she recounted. Immediately, the principal admonished her for being late with a rather snarky comment. Not in the mood to take any of his passive-aggressiveness, she informed him: "Yeah, things get busy in A&E. I’ve spent the last hour administering over 40 stitches to a seven-year-old who was beaten by his mother with a metal ladle and then I had to deal with the police regarding the matter. Sorry for the inconvenience."
"After watching him try to not act embarrassed, he tells me what has happened. The boy had twanged my daughter’s bra and she had punched him in the face twice. I got the impression they were [angrier] with my daughter than the boy," she continued. After hearing their version of events, she realized that they were expecting an apology from her and her daughter instead of the boy who thought it was okay to play with a classmate's bra strap despite repeated warnings not to. "Oh. And you want to know if I’m going to press charges against him for sexually assaulting my daughter and against the school for allowing him to do it?" she asked them and the mere mention of sexual assault sent all the men in the room scrambling for damage control.
"I don't think it was that serious," said the teacher while the Head Of Year asked her not to "over-react." Meanwhile, the principal had the audacity to tell her that she's "missing the point" when he himself wouldn't recognize the point even if it came and punched him in the face. The woman then turned to her daughter to hear her version of the events. "He kept pinging my bra. I asked him to stop but he didn't, so I told Mr. [Teacher]. He told me to 'ignore it.' [Boy] did it again and undid my bra so I hit him. Then he stopped," the girl told her.
The mother then turned to the teacher and gave him a piece of her mind. "You let him do this? Why didn't you stop him? Come over here and let me touch the front of your trousers" she said, adding, "Does that seem inappropriate to you?"
"She defended herself against a sexual attack from another pupil. Look at them; he's nearly 6 feet and 11 or 12 stone. She's 5 feet and 6 stone. He's a foot taller than her and twice as heavy. How many times should she have let him touch her? If the person who was supposed to help and protect her in a classroom couldn't be bothered what should she have done? He pulled her bra so hard it came undone," she said. "I'm taking her home. I think the boy has learned his lesson. And I hope nothing like this ever happens again, not only to [Daughter] but to any other girl at this school. You wouldn't let him do it to a member of staff so what makes you think he can do it to a girl of 15 is beyond me. I will be reporting this to the governors."
Before leaving, she turned to the boy to give him one final warning. "EVER touch my daughter again I WILL have you arrested for sexual assault. Do you understand me?" she told him and left with her daughter. "I reported it to the Board of Governors, several of whom I know from Church (it's a Catholic school), and was assured it would be strongly dealt with. I also reported it to OFSTED (Government-run school monitoring) and they were equally as horrified and assured me they would contact the school. My daughter was put into a different class for that subject, away from the teacher and the boy," she concluded.