Everyone’s Invited

By Hannah Needley | Oct 12, 2021

The ‘Everyone’s Invited’ social media movement has plummeted into the private school education system, exposing the prominent rape culture and sexual harassment that many girls have faced throughout their school years. This movement started off as an Instagram account urging people to share their experiences of rape culture throughout their schooling years, from primary school, all the way through to university. The momentum this movement has gathered has been astonishing, especially in such a short period of time, yet there is still a large amount of work that needs to be completed in order to ensure that everyone can go to school knowing that it will be a safe place to learn.

From personal experience, being in a single sex, all-girls school, I have certainly not faced the bleak reality that many girls experience while attending a mixed school; however, my friends and I know how normalised rape culture is due to our own experiences throughout our childhood. The ‘schoolgirl’ is a constantly sexualised ideal that is regimented in our society, and many young children are forced to realise this at a young age: from catcalling in the streets, to comments made in the classroom, we become accustomed to the abuse, and that is not ok.

Mixed schools are now being forced to wake up to the harsh truth that is the rape culture in private schools. The hundreds of testimonies on the Instagram account “Everyone’s Invited” speak for itself. The graphic nature of these recounts of girls’ and boys’ experiences is certainly overwhelming, and schools now have the problem of unravelling the thickly coiled web of this normalised culture. Furthermore, many of these schools have had reports of sexual harassment and yet they continued run with the motto “let boys be boys” and they simply ignored the reports. They have even gone as far as to disbelieve the pleas of help from the affected youth. Schools have the right to provide a healthy and safe environment for all that study within and to do so they must first change this normalised behaviour through education. Education and rehabilitation will provide the solutions that these schools so desperately need in order to create an environment that every child has a right to. Everyone should be able to go to school without any fear of assault.

I am writing, not to shame schools nor the government but to cajole the people in power that this needs to change, and it needs to change now.