Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

"Boys will be boys."

Apparently this means that a 13 year old girl has to sit there and take it when a 13 year old boy holds a pocket knife blade up to her neck and says, "I otta slit your throat!"

It didn't start with that.  The knife was a sort of crescendo of the little "harmless" comments that had been hurled at me for months.  Every day I had to start off my afternoon being greeted by the young man with comments like, "I'll be you're so tight, you squeak when you have sex."  The girl who sat in the seat across from me and in front of my offender would either giggle awkwardly or ignore the comments.  I would sit there like a stone in my seat, the heat (and red) rising to my face as I felt a mix of rage and fear.

Not only did my admirer make lewd comments, he would also appraise my body, my outfit, etc.  And he did it with a look in his eye that would make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  No, he was not like the boy that liked me so he would pick me and my desk up and move me across the room as a joke.  That was funny.

I was afraid of this boy.  I was initially somewhat nice to him when school began; after all, he was the new boy in school.  But, I didn't speak to him after he started saying those horrible comments, and I barely acknowledged him with a glance when I had to address him during class.  I hoped that he would stop making such embarrassing and strange comments if I ignored them.  That had always worked with my bullies in the past.  For some reason, it encouraged him to make even stranger and more explicit comments about sex and my body.

Other than the girl across from me, no one knew about the special attention this boy paid to me.  A teacher commented once, "He seems to have a crush on you," which was a horrible thing to say, I thought.  I finally broke down at home the evening after I felt the cold point of the knife against my skin.

My Dad went into the school and talked to the principal the next day.  The principal called in the boy, and the boy admitted to having a pocket knife.  The principal had the boy hand it over to the him and then dismissed him.  The principal looked my Dad in me in the eyes and told us how boys are simply boys -- I guessed that meant that you can't expect much from a boy other than they will be stupid and dangerous without any repercussions.

My Dad asked me if I was okay with leaving things with the knife in the hands of the principal and the boy told to leave me alone.  I didn't want to draw anymore attention to myself, so I told my Dad that I didn't want him to make it worse than it already was by insisting the boy be punished.

Now that I am the step Mom of a 14 year old girl, I have to wonder if she's encountered anything like this, and what she would do differently than I did.  I'm hoping that it's no longer acceptable to harass girls with words or pocket knives...  or, will boys always be allowed to be boys?


  1. Wow that sounds terrifying! I cant believe the principal felt comfortable leaving a young scared girl to deal with an obviously crazy boy. I bet your dad lost sleep over that. Knowing your relationship with your step daughter I know she would tell you. If she didn't you would notice something was wrong and talk to her. Hopefully things are not the same and it would be dealt with differently.

  2. WTH?? Wow.. I'd have sucker punched him in the face so hard he'd be apologizing into his next life. Something similar happened to my sister when we were little.. I confronted the boy and he though cus he was bigger than me that he could scare me. Nope... I clocked him in the face so hard he fell back and was laid out cold on the corner of 38th & Quivas, in front of Leprino. Never messed with my older sister again.

    Sorry you had to go thru that... I pray your daughter NEVER has to encounter anything like that.

  3. If anything good has come out of Columbine, it is the recognition of what can happen as a result of bullying. Nevertheless, bullying persists and probably always will. Only now we have more tools to combat it and a school principal would no longer be able to brush it aside as yours did. I pity the family that boy has probably subsequently created

  4. I remember that one. It's terrifying that things got left the way they did - these days a kid will get expelled for merely possessing a blade, period. No tolerance. I'm not sure that that's the correct solution, but nobody should have to go through such fear.

    Of course, a better big brother would have beaten that kid within an inch of his life. Twice.