Feminism | Posted by Michayla Owens on 04/19/2013

Taking A Stand: Why I’m Fighting For Sexual Assault Education

Help Michayla take a stand against bullying and sexual assault

My name is Michayla Owens. I’m sixteen years old, and I attend Columbia High School in Mississippi. I was fifteen when I was sexually assaulted by two boys at my high school.

The sexual assault took place on November 11th, 2012 after a positive incentive trip for good students at Columbia High School. It happened right on school grounds, in one of the school bathrooms. After the field trip, the bus returned us to the school. After getting off the bus, I entered the building. I was forced into a bathroom stall. My pants were removed, and I was sexually assaulted. One of the boys is a football player and one used to play football. Three boys were arrested that night, but only two are being charged. A rape kit was done that night at the hospital, and I will now have to testify against these boys in court.

I was so traumatized after the incident that I didn’t want to return to my own school. After a few days, I decided I wanted to face my fears and go back to school, but the principal sent me back home. The principal decided to suspend me for going into the school the night of the sexual assault and didn’t let me come back for another 4 days. My grandmother went to the school almost every day to ask for my class work, but she was never given anything to bring home for me. Because of the way the situation was being handled, I felt like I was being blamed for the assault. When I came back to school, everyone hated me because they thought I lied. No one had heard my story, but many rumors had circulated in my absence, and people believed them. I’ve been bullied to the point where I’m about to give up.

This bullying is still going on to this day. I have to eat in the restroom, and hide at break time in the bathroom. I’m scared and I wish this could all be over. Everyone hates me and they call me names like useless, easy, hoe, slut, liar, fat, and more. Sometimes I question myself and wonder if maybe it was my fault, BUT IT WAS NOT MY FAULT. People ask why I didn’t scream…well I was so scared, and I didn’t want to get them in trouble because they were my friends. I was embarrassed and didn’t want the boys to turn the situation around. I would never in a million years think (as a fifteen year old at the time) that my teenage friends would do something like this to me. It’s not okay to force sex on a girl when she clearly doesn’t want it: rape is not okay. I made it clear to these boys that I didn’t want to engage in any sexual activities with them. People need to understand the facts about sexual violence and guidance should be provided to children before they enter high school. It is very important to me to do whatever I can to stop this from happening to others. I hope no other girl ever has to go through what I have.

I’ve reported kids harassing me every day to the Principal many times but there haven’t been any consequences for any of them. I feel like I have been charged with a crime when it should by my attackers who are charged. I am not being offered any protection from the continuing abuse. Bullying is very serious, and can ruin a child’s life and the bullying that’s happening to me isn’t being taken seriously at all.

My family and I have been affected by this in so many tragic ways. I have so much anger inside because of the pain I am forced to deal with at school as a result of this sexual assault. I end up taking my anger out on my family and my family blames themselves for this happening to me.

There are currently no policy guidelines regarding bullying within Columbia Schools, and no punishment for the bullies, and there should be! Kids should feel safe and protected at school, so learning can be the focus. It’s time for a change. I want to increase awareness in my community — amongst students, teachers and principals — as to how devastating sexual violence, and the bullying and victim blaming that often accompany it, can be.

I believe that it should be required that every young student be respectfully educated on the topic of sexual violence before they enter high school. I am also petitioning for Columbia Public Schools to make policy guidelines stating that once a student is justly reported for bullying three times, corrective measures must include a minimum suspension of 3 days. We need better policies in schools against bullying and around education about sexual violence.

I hope you will help me take action. Please sign my petition on Change.org, visit my blog, and help me fight back against bullying and sexual assault.

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  • Nat @ at 12:16 am, April 20th, 2013

    Hey Michayla,

    I completely support your initiative and think it is incredibly inspiring that you are speaking out!
    You are amazing!

  • Taking a Stand: Why I’m Fighting For Sexual Assault Education | thefeministblogproject @ at 1:08 pm, April 26th, 2013

    [...] http://thefbomb.org/2013/04/taking-a-stand-why-im-fighting-for-sexual-assault-education/ [...]

  • Mandy Fraser @ at 3:33 am, April 27th, 2013

    Hi Michayla.

    Thank you for your articulate, honest, and brave story. I find it very disheartening that your friends and peers’ response to your sexual assault was bullying. Shame on your principle for his inaction against bullying, and his failure to provide a safe learning environment.

    I work as a counsellor in a sexual assault crisis program waaaaay up north in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Despite our geographical distance, I’ve heard several stories like yours. Perpetrators of sexual violence rely on secrets and silence to stay out of trouble. I am sure that your outspokenness is an inspiration to so many girls and women suffering in silence.

    Keep resisting, Michayla. You will get through this. I know I am not the only one walking beside you in spirit.

    With love and strength,
    Mandy

  • Mandy Fraser @ at 1:52 pm, April 27th, 2013

    Hi Michayla!

    I work as a counsellor in a sexual assault crisis program waaaaay north of you in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I’ve heard so many similar stories to yours. It is so disheartening to hear that in addition to being sexual assaulted, you are being bullied. That is the exact opposite of what you need after experiencing a frightening attack. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Shame on your principal, shame on your classmates and teachers who are failing you. I promise you that you are not alone and I know I am not the only one walking beside you in spirit.

    Keep resisting.

    Strength and love your way.

    Mandy Fraser

  • Michayla @ at 3:44 pm, April 28th, 2013

    Thank you for all your support. I’m not giving up.

  • melvinna Owens @ at 7:41 pm, May 6th, 2013

    Hey my look alike …… I want you to know I am right beside you in spirit I apologize for not being there at a time like this but baby girl you have encourage and taken a stand for not just yourself but all young women facing the exact challenges as you and as your mother I must say that I am truly proud of you I stand in prayer asking God to continue putting a wedge of protection over you I know what God can do for he has a plan for your future keep making Jesus smile :) you best believe you have made me smile always have and nae nae you always will till God put us together again I love you call me 6027543312 6232828433 I send my love always to you and my five others been calling get grandma voicemail muahhhhhhhhh mom’s bestie for LIFE!!!!!!!

  • Prue @ at 12:51 pm, May 19th, 2013

    Hey Michayla,
    You know you are not alone , There are silent millions weeping for your suffering and applauding your courage in speaking out and taking a stand . Go girl, be proud , you are truly great !

  • melvinna Owens @ at 5:58 pm, May 19th, 2013

    Baby girl please call me 6027543312 or 6232828433 I will be patiently awaiting your call have to share some important news for you keep your head up Jesus has it all in his hands just keep believing I love you my strong black beautiful princess a blessing from God… kiss your sisters and brother for me … Muahhhhhhhhhh!

  • Alex W. @ at 11:17 am, May 20th, 2013

    Hey! I’ve talked to you before on your tumblr, and I just wanted to say that I think you’re really brave. From the little I’ve heard about victims of sexual assault and rape, they don’t usually tell. They don’t tell because they’re worried, they’re embarrassed, etc. But you SHARED your story- and not only that, you’re really trying to get it out there to help others- and that’s the first step to getting things changed.
    These things, these stigmas against sexual assault and rape victims- they’ve been around for a while. Our (unfortunately, I live on this planet, so I’m somewhat included in said society) blames the victim. This society is superficial, never looking too deep or closely at something. They make up reasons, an explanation.
    From my own experiences with bullying I’ve learned that everyone wants someone to blame, even if the person they’re blaming isn’t even a little bit at fault. Like you: you’re not at fault, and you’ve done absolutely NOTHING wrong. Everything that’s happened to you- the assault, and all the bullying and shaming on top of that- is completely horrible and vile disgusting.
    Things like this make me ashamed to call myself a human, because this- making fun of a girl because three boys who she thought were friends (no offence) tried to sexually assault her WHEN IT WAS NOT HER FAULT? That’s not human, and it needs to stop.
    Keep speaking your voice. You should never be hushed.
    ~Alex xx

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