BLUSH

Today Katarina Schultz is here to recount her experience with bullies.  This type of bullying is very prevalent and has been occurring in grade schools for many decades.  Boys and girls learning to be men and woman pushing boundaries and sometimes, at the expense of others, learning how to either respect or disrespect the opposite sex.

I remember my daughter coming home from third grade asking me to give her the DETAILS about sex.  Apparently there were some fifth graders discussing having sex on the playground during lunch.  I asked her what she thought that meant and she said kissing. Well that is part of it…

I told my daughter that sex was like learning to drive a car.  She wasn’t big enough to push the pedals so there was no need to know all the details about driving yet but she would learn what she needed when it was time.  I told her I was proud of her for asking me because sex should not be discussed at school and anyone trying to do so should be told to take that conversation home with them.  I also told her it would need to be an ongoing discussion between us and I would always answer her honestly.

Now she is in fifth grade and has gone through a few sex ed classes.  The kids were allowed to ask anonymous questions and I was shocked at some of the questions the boys were asking.  The girls wanted to know mainly what to expect from their body and the boys wanted to know how to have sex and what to do with girls.  I am so not ready for my daughter to grow up.

After reading this post and remembering my own experiences I now need to have another conversation with my daughter.  A warning of sorts maybe.  I think I need my daughter to know that there might be boys that haven’t learned how to be respectful yet, and possibly girls too.  I want to take their power over her away and teach her not to feel shame and to never be embarrassed when another kid makes a fool of themselves.

Katarina Schultz does a wonderful job here talking very honestly about her experiences and I want her to know I think this post is important.  It is a reminder to teach our young ones respect at an early age for the opposite sex.  “But when my ignorance was discovered” is a key phrase here…arm your child with knowledge so they don’t fall prey to this type of bullying.


PICTURE BY CAMERA CHI

PICTURE BY CAMERA CHI

BLUSH by Katarina Schultz

Eighth grade was my first year in the wide-halled, linoleum-lined public school. I was a nobody. A goody-two-shoes. But worse than that, I was innocent. At first I flew under the radar. I was safe. But when my ignorance was discovered, I became a pincushion. It started slowly.

You don’t know what 69 is? Let me tell you about it.

They laughed at my scarlet cheeks and the way I smiled when embarrassed.

Have you ever had sex? Ever touched a dick?

Soon it escalated.

Do you shave your pussy? Would you suck my cock for 10 bucks? 50? How much?

They were joking, of course, hungrily lapping up my flustered reactions. Our teacher ignored it. She turned her eyes toward the whiteboard instead. It wasn’t quiet. She undoubtedly heard it all.

But I was left alone to drown.

Later that year I was called up to answer a question on the board. Ich habe keine Glück, I wrote. When I returned to my seat I found the boys rifling through my backpack. One of them pulled out a long, polka-dotted pouch. He unzipped it and his face lit up as if there was golden treasure within. Before I knew it, squishy pink packages and crinkly wrapped cylinders were flying about the room. It was a girl’s worst nightmare.

I’d love to tell you that my teacher started yelling and sent them out of the room. But she didn’t. The questions didn’t stop.

Would you have sex with him? How much would you have to be paid? How about him instead?

A year later the touching began. The “Nervous Game” they called it. They’d put a hand on my thigh and move it closer and closer until I got up. I wish I’d gotten up sooner and stormed out. But it was more complicated than that. I had no friends. They were the ‘cool’ boys. It was a game of social status. So I shut my mouth and blushed when they rubbed up against me at the whiteboard as a joke, and when they called me hot and laughed. I knew they didn’t mean it.

In 4 years it dwindled down to just one boy. It took me 4 years to drop the class that was keeping us together. 4 years and I had to give up an entire language to cut him out of my life.

But it was too late. The effects were lasting.


superhuman life

BIO
Katarina Schultz is a student pursuing a degree in anthropology. She is a mental health advocate who writes about her own experiences with mental illness. She spends most of her time trying to figure out how to do life in the quirkiest and most fun way possible. For more of her writing check out her blog: asuperhumanlife.wordpress.com.

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23 thoughts on “BLUSH

  1. Wow. Short, powerful.

    I don’t really have much to say. We would all like to think that we raise our kids to respect each other and/or know when to stand up for themselves. The need to fit in often overrides the yearning for security against such actions. I wonder, would those boys feel remorse if they knew that you truly didn’t like the situation? I would hope so.

    Now I am stuck in my head playing out different scenarios. Great post Katarina.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SO relavent. I just don’t know what to say to Katrina, except I’M SORRY. I, too, was a “goody-two-shoes”. I was raised in a private christian school from age 5-15. When I was a sophomore in high school, I was ushered into my FIRST public school and I was shocked. My school career had been completely sheltered in the comfort of chapel services and christian teachers. I didn’t realize how comfortable that was until I stepped foot into my first public school. Traumatized, would be a simple word to describe how I felt. 😦
    I made it out and graduated. I even took a couple years of college classes.
    I shudder, thinking about my daughters convo’s between her friends and what they consist of. If I think too hard, it will surely make me nauseous.
    Hasty mentioned, “I think I need my daughter to know that there might be boys that haven’t learned how to be respectful yet, and possibly girls too.” I think that’s stellar parenting. What a great way to stay unjaded while still being completely honest with your kiddo and teaching them along the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think we’ve all been in a position of compromise at one time or another. Perhaps not the same as yours, Katarina,but undoubtedly the feelings evoked and lasting effects are similar. It is baffling how the petals of our innocence are plucked from the strong stem of soul. We are never quite the same afterward. Never.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My son is about to turn 13. He has his first girlfriend, and suddenly is looking at girls on a regular basis. The conversations I’ve had with him recently have been somewhat awkward but hopefully productive. I’ve always thought that, if a kid is old enough to ask in a serious manner, then they’re old enough to know the full answer, at least on a technical level. He knows the mechanics of sex. He knows the impact of unprotected sex. He knows that, if I ever catch him mistreating a young lady in any way, he’ll regret it rather quickly and for an extended period of time. There’s no excuse for any sort of bullying, especially sexual harassment. It’s just not acceptable.

    I was very innocent when I was the age that Katarina discusses in the post. I had NO idea what girls were going through. As a redhead I was being harassed with name calling and carpet-matching-the-drapes type of questions (yeah – even guys get those if they have an unusual hair color). I was getting punched when walking between classes. I was so worried about my world that I never knew about a great deal of what was going on in my school. I just wanted to be left alone. I stopped being so concerned about it all once I found out the factual basis for it all. It was no longer something to be embarrassed about or afraid of. It was a scientific thing I could analyze and deal with intelligently and discuss with those around me that were supportive. Without the vocabulary and knowledge, I had no way to express to my peers and elders what I was dealing with. Once I did, life got much easier. So, my personal opinion is to always give your children knowledge on whatever they’re mature enough to ask about on a serious level. You’re arming them against the bullies and the rest of this challenging world, and that’s our job as parents. Scientific knowledge doesn’t ruin innocence. It protects it as the kids mature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have done the same and also made sure she knows it is a subject for families not school friends to discuss. What she knows may not be what another parent wants their child to know and I told her to have respect for that. Our kids will make mistakes but I hope arming her with knowledge pays off.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hm. I think boys will be disrespectul assholes to girls if they’re not taught to fight the cultural tradition of being disrespectful assholes to girls. I also think girls are culturally taught to be quiet and patient about fairly extreme sex-based bullying. I feel like it’s fairly natural for boys to behave this way, but only because it’s inherent in the culture. I have two daughters, and I feel I can arm them well to deal with assholes. We use martial arts and frank discussion in our family, as well as a keen and specific regard for rebalancing the social bias against women and girls. However, that does pretty much nothing to change the fact that assholes will still grow like weeds and attempt to assault my daughters from all sides as they grow through the school system.

    I don’t think it’s as simple as those boys not having good male role models, and decent friends who care about equality. I think it’s a whole cultural thing. I do my best to hold my breath when surrounded by the choking atmosphere of misogyny, but in the end, I have to breathe some of it in, because that’s pretty much all there is to breathe. It’s in me too, as terrible as that is to admit, so I need to be vigilant, and work to grow beyond what I’ve come to know as unhealthy instincts about women.

    I’m happy I was never really bullied about sex in school. I certainly was outside of school by my brother and his friends, who were all older boys. And I was bullied all through school about other things. But then I kind of was bullied sexually by the school itself. There was a shower in ninth grade after physical education class. I ran track. We’d fail if we didn’t, in ninth grade, all hop in the community shower together naked. In ninth grade. Naked. No dividers, no stalls, no curtains. With other boys. It was utterly humiliating. It was an extremely violent atmosphere where boys got beat up regularly, and they’d whip you with towels, and they’d tell the whole school you had a little dick… I was already a person who was bullied for so many other reasons. So I failed. I failed the class. Rather than take showers. Even though I was a great runner. I recognize the importance of showering after intense physical activity, but I was academically punished for not putting myself in a position of humiliation and further suffering.

    But man, I can’t imagine having been a girl going through all I went through and this other constant sexual taunting from my peers. Good lord, it was bad enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • UGH I hated showers AND we had curtains but still I dreaded it. It is a cultural thing I think and it is one we can only hope to change one child at a time. Teaching, listening, and acting every time an opportunity comes our way.

      Like

  6. This is not a boys will be boys situation…it is definitely sexual harassment, borderline sexual assault. Parents need to educate their boys to be respectful, but parents of girls need to educate them as well. They do not need to compromise themselves while trying to be polite, or ‘not make a big deal about it’. If she is uncomfortable, then it IS A BIG DEAL. We need to empower our girls to stand up for themselves. And as a society we need to stop labeling girls that do stand up for themselves as ‘bitches’, prudes or anything else that is derogatory. They are simply girls.
    Thank you Katarina for sharing. Just the fact that dialogue has begun means you have made an impact, and a difference.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. First, that teacher should be fired for allowing any of that to happen.
    Second, it is horrible what happened to Katarina and a blessing that she chose to share. I hope, despite her final sentence, that her sharing indicates a sense of healing. She did nothing wrong.
    I have been shocked, as the father of two boys, by how little many of their peers think of girls through high school and then young women in college, and I have to think much of that starts at home. I was blessed to have a mom who hung the moon and a sister who flung the stars, and so it was always easy to treat females the way I would insist someone treat my mother or my sister, There actually are boys and men who count notches like a badge of honor, or who can only have the place in a crowd they think they deserve by demeaning others. Sadly, there are girls who feel and act the same way and it often seems to correlate with their own behavior and own sense of self-respect. Often, the less self-respect you have, the more likely you are to behave in an unsavory way because by acting like you are in charge, you seem to be sending off vibes that you have power even if, deep inside, you have mounting regrets that are eating you up. I will pray that Katarina and other victims of bullying find peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you all for reading my piece. I’m really glad it has sparked such great discussion on the topic. It took me a long time to realize what the boys were doing was wrong, which I think says a lot about our society. I am finally healing from what happened and becoming the confident, strong person I once was. Thank you all for your thoughts.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It’s hard to see abuse as abuse when there is so damn much of it. I’m glad you are becoming confident and strong. There are always barriers to that even without people being shitheads to you. I’m sorry that you had to deal with that, from one bullied person to another. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. ACK. Contributing my 5 cents late, but the things which really got to me were these – that Katerina had to give up an entire language to get away from the harrassment (that’s a compelling thought, and an awful one) AND THIS: THE TEACHERS WERE CULPABLE.

    The teachers failed in their guardianship role and they should be ashamed of themselves.

    I just want to share THIS article here. http://www.hellou.co.uk/2015/02/girl-boy-school-twanged-bra-38534/

    Liked by 1 person

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