Until recently I’d only ever thought of sexual harassment as something physical. Then, some of my best friends were sexually harassed online by a group of senior boys.
Earlier this year, a group of boys in my class made an Instagram account showing explicit photos of my friends and other girls partying, drinking, and even passed out. The account was up for a few months before adults at my school found out. What followed was a whirlwind of drama– suspensions, a lawsuit — even the state got involved.
Months after the incident I notice my friends still fearfully glancing over their shoulders before they talk. They’re reluctant to give out their numbers. Some won’t go out on the weekends anymore. Events like prom and graduation are supposed to bring the senior class together. But as they approach, the gaping rift between students grows even more obvious.
I don’t think my friends did anything wrong, but their experience has made me more cautious. I realize, that sexual harassment can irreversibly damage someone’s life, and that it doesn’t just happen on the street or behind closed doors. All it takes, is one jerk with a smartphone.