I Was Groped in High School

by Mariah Thompson about a month ago in activism

And this is what I did about it.

I Was Groped in High School

I’ve experienced a lot throughout high school. I’ve had drama between friends, annoying teachers, and don’t get me started on the crowded hallways.

High school, for me, overall was great. I made friends easily, and I spent most of my time rehearsing for plays or musicals. Though, it was tough to participate when all the roles I got were a part of the ensemble. I had been cast as a supporting role twice, but never made it to be a lead. Competition was too good at my school, and I eventually gave up trying.

My sophomore year, during our spring musical, I decided to be a light technician. I was the head spotlight tech, and I was in charge of keeping the light on the lead actor at all times. The machine for the spotlight was old, creaky, heavy, and sometimes it didn’t want to turn on. It was difficult to maneuver, and a I barely had any breaks.

I finally got used to the spotlight, and it was our second weekend of showings. I had a friend who would follow me around sometimes, because he came late into the rehearsals and the director put him wherever there was a need for another person. Let call this friend, Zach. Zach had a lack of knowing right from wrong. He was obsessed with women, and every week he was going after another girl. People call this type of person: “a player.” I thought he was cute, but I never would date him. He was disgusting to women, but we were good friends so I didn’t worry about it.

Zach would drop by my area and talk for a bit during intermission, and whenever I had a break. There was one day that Zach didn’t have much to do, so he sat in a seat that was next to my spotlight, and he watched the show. Once I finished my cue, I would sit by him until I had to get ready for the next scene.

As I was intensely watching the show, waiting for my next cue, Zach put his hand on my thigh. It was a little surprising, but it wasn't a huge deal since he’s a naturally flirty person. A few seconds pass, and he starts moving his thumb, rubbing my leg. I got up quickly for my next cue, and sat back down, hoping he would just stop. But he didn’t. He continued and started to move his hand up and down my thigh. I turned my body away from him, but he continued and got closer and closer to my crotch. I got up for another cue. I didn’t know what to do. I was somewhat afraid that if I didn’t sit next to him again he would get mad. I was scared that he would push me or hit me, even though he probably wouldn’t—it was that fear of, “what if I don’t actually know him like I do?” So I sat next to him again. I crossed my legs, and turned away and he tried to do it again. I had one more cue until intermission. I got up, finished my cue, turned the spotlight off, and ran through the hallway until I reached someone I trusted to tell what happened. I found my two best friends at the top of the stairs. I was crying and I told them everything. One of them told me to stay where I was while she went and got the director. My other friend comforted me until I was told by the assistant director that Zach was to leave the premises, and was informed of the situation by the superintendent who happened to be watching the show that night. I felt relieved as I went back to my area and continued the show.

After the bows of the cast, and the lights turned back on in the auditorium, I went down stairs to the lobby where the director, superintendent, my parents, and the principal were waiting for me. I told my parents briefly what happened before the principal showed me to a quiet room to tell them the whole story.

They asked me questions like; “why didn’t you tell him to stop?” And “did he hurt you?” I answer truthfully, and they told me he would be suspended from the school, and if I felt like I was in danger around him again that I could come to them and he would be expelled.

They comforted me, and when I had calmed down, escorted me to my parents. I usually would have to clean up my area after the show, but I was dismissed, and on the car ride home I told me parents in detail what happened.

I could have said nothing. I could have kept my mouth shut and I wouldn’t have needed to suspend Zach in his senior year a month before graduation. I felt bad, but I felt good that I told someone. The situation probably would have escalated into something even bigger that could have possibly involved police. The moral of this story is that, whenever you are uncomfortable in any circumstance, tell someone. You have friends in your life that are there to help you, and want to help you. Use your resources. No one should go through trauma or harassment and live their life with a burden. Say something.

activism
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