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'I was sexually assaulted in school when I was 12. Here is my story'

Writing in the aftermath of revelations about peer-on-peer sexual assault in schools in England, one student who was attacked on multiple occasions recounts her experience

A new report has been produced into the problem of child abuse in residential schools

I was a victim of repeated sexual assault in the school environment. The way in which peer-on-peer sexual assault is dealt with in schools is truly awful and needs to change.

Many incidents took place, and a teacher was informed every time, yet the same punishment was always given – even though the evidence showed it was not working. Once, after a more serious incident took place in which the perpetrator put his hand up my skirt, the police were brought in. He was put onto a short educational course run by the police and while he was doing that he didnʼt come near me.

However, very soon after heʼd finished the course, he started harassing and assaulting me and my friends again. There was then an incident outside of school after which the police got involved again.

Officers interviewed everyone involved. My attacker was charged with sexual assault and has since pleaded guilty. However, at school nothing changed. He walked around the school and walked home like normal. It made me angry seeing him every single day. My anger grew and grew and it affected everything from my education to my home life and relationships with my family. I felt as though nobody in school cared enough to do anything about it.

I was let down by my school and so are so many others. This is not OK because every time you see the person who has assaulted you in your school environment it puts you in a state of anxiety and your whole focus is just on keeping safe, which means you canʼt learn properly, so what is the point of going to school?

Having to face an attacker, sexual or otherwise, is horrible, and if the situation had been between adults, in the home or at work, they would have been separated at once while an investigation was undertaken. Why is this not the case with children, who are more vulnerable than most adults?

Why are they left to suffer in this environment AND expected to learn?

After months of having to deal with this I left my school. But this isnʼt fair. I did nothing wrong. Why did I have to have my education disrupted because I was a victim of sexual assault?

Iʼm now discovering that my story is similar to many other girlsʼ experiences. Iʼm angry that politicians know the statistics about sexual assault in schools but are doing so little about it. The problem mainly affects girls. Donʼt we matter to you? Does our education not matter to you? Do our rights not matter to you? I was only 12 when the assaults first started and 13 when the most serious incident took place and resulted in my having to move school. Iʼm 14 now.

The government must to do more to ensure that other pupils arenʼt let down time and time again by the system, as I was and others still are.

The author's identity is being withheld. She is currently a Year 9 at a comprehensive in England

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