‘I know she would have wanted it if she were conscious’: High school girls are exposing their classmates who think rape is OK
‘It’s only rape if she’s kicking and screaming’
Rape jokes, sexism, and comments about revenge porn and slut shaming are all documented on an Instagram account started by a group of girls at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut.
The F Word Overheard went live in March and aims to expose the rape culture that is currently roaming the halls of high schools.
Taylor Githens, a senior at Staples who runs the account, receives submissions with things overheard at parties, whispered in the halls, or said openly in class, but records a lot of what she hears herself.
“The worst was when a guy was talking to my friends and I at a party and called his ex-girlfriend a cunt, whore and then goes ‘she’s a fucking slut.’
“It made me angry because I recognize that so many boys get away with calling ex-girlfriends psycho and sluts, even when it’s no where near true. It just adds to the harmful rhetoric around rape culture and normalizes degrading comments like this.”
Taylor said that once people found out she ran the account they would deliberately make comments in front of her as a joke.
“One boy said ‘You’re a fucking feminist and I hate feminists. I hate everything you stand for’ to me at a party.”
Although most of things documented have been said by students — both male and female — there have been instances where teachers were allegedly overheard making comments.
The idea for The F Word came after a class project about feminism was vandalized by students
Kristina Wasserman, a senior at Staples, told babe her Women in History class put up an exhibit asking what ‘Feminism Is’, which was immediately met with negative responses.
Watching students leave hateful messages and hearing them make rape jokes in front of their wall, the girls were reminded of other times sexism and rape culture was prevalent in their high school community.
“We’ve heard similar things all throughout high school, but only realized how messed up they are.”
Kristina, who is about to graduate Staples and start college in the Fall, said she was struck after seeing a post which said: “College isn’t the full experience without sexual assault.”
“College to me is supposed to be a place where you learn, where you make memories, where you have fun, where you make new friends, where you explore new things, not where you get sexually assaulted, not where you deal with rape, not where you’re scared.”
Taylor told babe she was nervous because of the backlash the account would receive, but that “the amount of support it got outweighed all the negativity.”
“I embraced any comments people would give me because I recognized that casual sexism and rape culture were both so prevalent in my school, that I could handle a little attention that made me uncomfortable.”
Both Taylor and Kristina emphasized how important these projects are to them, and how they’re glad they were the first to start a conversation around rape culture in their school
“These comments are always going on around the school and you just brush them off, which is really sad and pathetic to think about. But once you start listening to them and actually thinking about what’s being said you hear them,” Kristina told babe.
“People need to know what’s going on.”
babe has reached out to Staples High School for a comment, but has not heard back.
This story is part of babe’s reporting series about rape culture in high schools across the country. If you have a story you’d like to share, please email Eleni Mitzali at [email protected]
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