School to run workshops to discuss abuse of girls

Initiative follows widespread reports of sexual harassment and assault of girls in British schools


LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: A woman and child walk past placards saying 'It's sexual harassment', 'She is someone' and 'Educate your sons' attached to the fence outside James Allen's Girls' School (JAGS) on March 28, 2021 in London, England. The school's pupils pinned placards and red ribbons to the fence in protest against 'rape culture' and a nearby boys school which they have called a 'breeding ground for sexual predators'. The red ribbons are to represent each 'abuse survivor' at the school. Several other London schools faced similar allegations following an online campaign called "Everyone's Invited," which prompted anonymous students to share testimonies of sexual assault and harassment they experienced. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Immanuel College in Bushey says it is developing workshops for pupils to discuss the issues raised by recent revelations of sexual harassment and abuse of girls in UK schools. 

Over the past few days, the website Everyone’s Invited, set up to counter “rape culture”, has published 14,000 anonymous testimonies from girls across the country. 

Claire Shooter, deputy head at Immanuel in charge of pastoral care, said it had been “extremely concerning and upsetting to hear what a widespread issue this is across schools.  

“We have addressed all senior school pupils and written to parents to reiterate that Immanuel College will not tolerate sexism, misogyny, sexual harassment or abuse in any way, shape or form. “ 

Pupils had been reminded that staff were there to listen and support, she said. “We are developing workshops with different year groups to listen to their views and to discuss the issues. It's clear that educating pupils to be empathetic and respectful needs to be an ongoing process from a young age, starting from primary school.” 

Discussions around consent, misogyny, sexual harassment and violence need to embedded in personal, health and social education and and relationships and sex education curricula, supported by assemblies and “parent information evenings, and reinforced through conversations at home”. 

PaJeS, the Jewish Leadership Council’s schools network, said it was in dicussion with schools and “considering co-ordinating an education programme across the schools”. 

The posts on Everyone’s Invited cannot be independently verified but include a number which are said to come from Jewish schoolgirls. 

They range from being groped in a school lunch queue to more sexual assaults at parties – sometimes when they had had too much to drink. In the worst post, one girl said she had tried to killed herself after being raped by a friend when she was 15 and “on the verge of blackout”. 

One girl said she believed that the boy who molested her would not have done so if he had been better educated to understand “how awful” his behaviour had been. 

Last week the inspection service Ofsted announced an inquiry into how schools deal with sexual abuse and harassment. 

Its chief inspector Amanda Spielman said, “Schools have a crucial role to play in teaching young people about sexual consent and respect for women and girls.  

“They must also be places where all children feel safe, and where they are able to report any incidents of abuse or harassment and be confident that what they say will be acted upon.” 

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