I apologize for the long-windedness of this in advance but I am fuming right now. Also, the more details I give now the better understanding you will have.
DD2 is in theater. She loves theater, theater is her home, the theater kids understand her, etc. DD2 has a friend who for these purposes I will call ‘John.’ John is a nice kid. He’s very friendly and his older sister is one of DD2’s closest friends. John is a sophomore in high school, so fifteen or sixteen. He’s on the taller and larger side, but the girls all call him a ‘big teddy bear.’
DD2 texted me today while in class and asked me ‘what would be the consequences of a high school boy being charged with sexual harassment?’
When she got home tonight I got the full story which is as follows:
John is very touchy feely. Now it being theater, touchy is considered ‘one of those things’ that comes with being in theater. (Or so I have been informed consistently.) Now, John takes it too far. John constantly grabs girls’ butts, kisses them both on the cheek (and lips) without their permission and tries to unhook their bras. He laughs it off when they ask him or tell him to stop.
One of DDs friends told him the other day to stop trying to unhook her bra and when he didn’t she told him that he was ‘out of luck, because her bra was a front clasp’ at which point he immediately moved his hands and started trying to unhook it at the front and grabbing her breasts. One of the other boys came and moved him away from them. Friday night DD was leaving a friend’s house and hugging everyone good night. She hugged him and while they were hugging he slid his hand down the back of her pants. He went through her pants but not her underwear and grabbed her ass. DD2 at this point slapped him across the face and told him if he ever did that again he was going to be in very big trouble and she would call someone.
Earlier this year DD2 was having similar problems with this boy, (much less extreme) but she sat down and had a very serious conversation with him (one that her boyfriend also had with him when DDs didn’t have the effectiveness she wanted it to) about personal boundaries. John told her he was gay and that it was because of this that he was always all over girls as he had yet to come out to his parents or many others. DD2 told him that that was still not an acceptable reason to make others uncomfortable with his actions. Lately whenever someone has told him that he's making them uncomfortable he has responded with, 'it's okay, I'm gay.'
The phrase ‘no means no’ was decided by a male friend to be the ‘step back’ term when John was getting too close to others. Now whenever someone says that he laughs and stops for a second before resuming whatever he is attempting to do. I mentioned earlier that John is on the larger side. My daughter is 5’1 and 115 lbs. If she wants him to get off of her there is no possible way for her to shove him off as he is much larger.
Saturday night DD and many of her friends went to an intergenerational dance (basically a dance with the elderly). The kids swing dance and tango and talk to the people and just generally have a good time. John was also there. As the older people were leaving the kids were still dancing. John came up and was grinding on her. (She was slow dancing with her boyfriend.) He kept feeling her back and finally proclaimed “you’re not wearing a bra??? What am I going to unhook?”
DD2 is uncomfortable and frankly pissed off. The mama bear in me is ready to storm somewhere and demand action, but DD2 wants to handle it on her own. She has two solid points – 1) next year she will be in college. She needs to handle herself. 2) This has to be from her and other friends, who since hearing that DD is going to take some kind of action, want to be involved. Me saying stop will have no effect.
She thinks that an intervention (and any charges at this point) is ridiculous. Also, because any sit down with a lot of serious people would be laughed off by John as he doesn’t seem to understand the seriousness of this. DD2 wants him to understand and respect hers (and their friends) personal boundaries. Her main concern is that one day he is going to do this to the wrong girl and wind up in a very bad situation. (A college freshman who went to her school is currently in jail awaiting trial for rape and sexual assault which is adding to all of this.)
There isn't really a question here besides 'what can I do to help my daughter?' and thank you for listening to my rant so I can continue to listen to DD2.