MP Siobhan Baillie has met with pupils from Stroud High School for Girls to discuss a survey they undertook looking at sexism and violence against women and to discuss their experiences of sexual harassment.
Siobhan met with the pupils from years eight to 11 recently and she was presented with the results of a survey they undertook among 80 Year 9 students.
It found that 44% of girls confirmed they had experienced some form of public sexual harassment while in their school uniforms but only 13% reported it.
The students also relayed their own experiences of inappropriate comments and behaviour and they talked about their concerns about how normalised public sexual harassment is in society and how this needs to be changed.
There was a discussion around social media platforms and pornography being so accessible to anyone. There was agreement girls are sexualised by what they are wearing and when public sexual harassment is reported by women or girls it is thought that the first question asked is “what were you wearing?”
The girls also felt that boys and society are not educated to be respectful and their needs to be a clear definition of what sexual harassment is.
“I was really concerned to be told the results of this survey and to hear some of the experiences these young girls have experienced,” said Siobhan.
“But I was also really heartened to hear these articulate pupils tell me how they felt, what they would like to happen and how much they care about this important issue.
“I will certainly be speaking to ministers to relay the findings of this survey. It is completely wrong that men sexually harass women but it is even worse if it is a young girl in a school uniform. This makes me incredibly angry and, if I saw it happening, I would not hesitate to intervene.
“I would hope others in Stroud would do the same. There is a big debate right now about whether the law needs tightening up in this area and we need all the evidence to can find to highlight this is a big problem
“I would also urge any schoolgirls who suffer any harassment to go straight to their parents, a teacher or the police and report it.
“I would like to thank the girls and the headteacher Mark McShane for inviting me to the school.”