Seeking Help After Trauma


I believe I was sexually harassed/assaulted by a school friend and I don’t know what to do. I believe I was sexually harassed/assaulted by a school friend in my school's theatre group. They would touch me romantically as a 'joke', starting with playing with my hair and holding my hand, then progressing to grabbing my waist and groping my thighs. I reported her to my theatre teacher, but nothing happened. The more I think about these incidents, the more pain and anger I feel. What should I do?


Thank you for sharing this difficult experience. I'm deeply sorry you've gone through this and that your initial attempt to report it wasn't adequately addressed. You deserve to feel supported and have your discomfort acknowledged.

What you've described could indeed be considered sexual harassment and potentially sexual assault depending on the nature of the unwanted touching. Unwanted touching of any kind, especially when it escalates to groping intimate areas like thighs, is a serious violation of your personal boundaries and bodily autonomy. The fact that it was framed as a 'joke' doesn't make it any less harmful or inappropriate. Your feelings of pain and anger are completely valid and understandable.

It's crucial to understand that what happened to you is not your fault. You have the right to feel safe at school and in your activities. There are several options you might consider, and you can choose what feels right for you. Documenting the incidents, if you haven't already, can be helpful if you decide to report further or seek additional help. Documenting these events could look like keeping a detailed written record. This could include dates, times, locations, descriptions of what happened, names of any witnesses, your immediate reactions, actions you took, and any related physical evidence like text messages. Remember, this documentation is for your personal use to aid in potential reporting or seeking support, and you should only document in ways that feel safe and helpful for you.

You could also seek additional support at school by talking to a counselor, another trusted teacher, or a higher authority like a principal or dean. Sometimes it takes more than one report for action to be taken. Alternatively, you might consider talking to a trusted adult outside of school, such as a parent or guardian, who can advocate for you and help navigate the situation.

Looking into your school's policies on sexual harassment can help you understand your rights and the school's responsibilities. Schools typically have specific procedures for handling such complaints. If you feel you need additional support, consider reaching out to external resources like RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) or ChildHelp, which offer support and guidance for survivors of sexual harassment and assault. A mental health professional can also provide a safe space to process your feelings and develop coping strategies.

In terms of immediate actions, prioritizing your safety is important. If possible, try to avoid being alone with this person and stick with trusted friends during theatre activities. 

Remember, healing is a process, and it's okay if you're not ready to take any immediate actions. Moving forward at a pace that feels right for you is crucial. Your safety and well-being are paramount. 

You are not alone in this, and there are people and resources available to support you when you're ready. Trust your feelings and don't let anyone minimize your experience. Your healing journey is personal, and you have the right to take the steps that feel most comfortable and helpful for you. Remember, what happened is not your fault, and you deserve to feel safe and respected in all your activities and relationships. Thank you for trusting us with these experiences. We appreciate you reaching out.

Safety Exit