Attack in a Pack

Guys encourage each other to harass while in groups, instead they need to encourage each other to stop this behavior.


Stock photo courtesy of Canva

Kat Halepaska, Staff Writer

For almost a week straight, students on the bus addressed me as “whore.”

It started as a way to get my attention. As a “joke.”

But then it was my name, and nothing I said would get them to stop. If I said anything about being uncomfortable with the name-calling, I was “such a feminist” and told to “go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich.”

It stopped when I asked one of my guy friends to sit with me.

We like to call this talk “locker room talk,” which society has accepted because it’s just “boys being boys.” What it is is sexual harassment, which is “behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances.” Examples that fall under this category are being catcalled, being asked for sex, making comments about someone’s sex in a derogatory manner, sending inappropriate and unwanted images/messages, and making inappropriate gestures at a person.

Stafford County Public Schools wants to reinforce its stance that “bullying is not okay,” but in what way are they going to have the ability to eliminate bullying when it’s everywhere? According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), 81% of females reported sexual harassment. Even if it was brought to the administration’s attention, what would make them say it wasn’t just “boys being boys”? I have been told too many times that “you’re a pretty girl, so you’re going to have to get used to it,” by my own parents. If the administration can’t notice basic bullying, how will they notice sexual harassment?

The solution is in the problem.

Created by Sienna Brittan (’23)

A problem commonly seen when it comes to girls being catcalled is that it’s usually when guys are in a group. During Power Hour, guys roam the halls, literal predators looking for targets to harass. They talk about chicks with the “biggest racks,” or “what would she be like in bed.” Of course, private conversation can’t hurt anyone right? These conversations can lead to boys thinking it’s appropriate to say to girls randomly in the hall.

Walking past is anxiety-inducing. You hope if you keep your head down low enough, they won’t notice you, and even better, not say anything about your body.

The pack feels more threatening. With a bigger group, guys edge each other on, almost becoming a competition to see who can get the biggest reaction. For the girl, it just becomes survival by trying to get out and not giving them the reaction they want. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to fix the problem.

If guys recognize that their friends are a part of this problem, they need to speak up and stop the harassment.

If guys want to say “not all men” then they should stand up, be the bigger person, and correct their friends’ behavior. Don’t “just try to be nice,” make a difference for someone whose requests for help go so often ignored.