Stop Street Harrassment blog: Toronto police are at it again…
How would you feel if someone violated your privacy and space by following you, leering at you and then looking up the skirt of your school uniform while you were going to school? Then how would you feel if the response of local police was to tell you and your classmates to stop wearing your school uniform during your commute, indirectly blaming YOU for the victimization?
That’s exactly what happened to two female students at Greenwood College, a private high school in Toronto. After a man harassed them and looked up their skirts while they were taking the subway to school, the Toronto police advised the school principal to tell the female population to put on their school uniform at school instead of at home in the morning. The principal apparently supported the sentiments and shared the message with the whole school.
Because women and girls who don’t wear skirts are never ogled or harassed ever, amirite?
*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*
Categories: education, ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, law & order
WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAAAAAAAAAT.
There aren’t words for this level of fuckery. I mean, seriously? Seriously?
Yeah, the reason for that is that Toronto PD would have to … actually listen to people and stuff. They don’t like doing that.
I’d be interested in hearing whether there are any women in Toronto who wear the full hijab and burqua, and whether they’re somehow immune to harassment from other commuters – or indeed from the fine upstanding types in the Toronto Police Department.
I suspect the answer is a very solid “no, they aren’t”.
(Purely on an incidental note: did the nice officers have any ideas how these girls were supposed to arrange to be carrying a full change of clothes as part of their daily commute, in addition to their school backpacks and textbooks and such? Or is this just the additional cost they have to pay for daring to be female in public?)
According to the news source linked by Stop Street Harassment, the principal and the police are now backpedalling and saying that really it applies to all students not just the girl students because the uniforms make them targets for villains who think they are likely to be carrying expensive phones etc. However I think your question still applies – how are the kids supposed to carry a change of clothes alongside everything else?
It strikes me as a way to single out and shame the kids who are using public transport to get to the school as well. Are the others who get driven to this expensive public school (and maybe boarders, does this school have boarders?) going to refrain from snickering at the inevitable crumpled-from-the-backpack uniforms around the school campus all day? I don’t think so, do you?
Words really do fail.
If the uniform is that much of a problem, the obvious solution is to change it. I notice the principal doesn’t seem to have thought of that!
(To be clear, I meant if the uniform really is the cause of students being targeted as students of that school. Whether that is true is another matter. I certainly do not believe that the uniform is the cause of the harassment. And if the principal really believes that it is, then the responsible thing for him to do, the thing that would best protect his students, would be to change the uniform.)
School uniforms are usually terribly designed anyway. My highschool uniform had a short skirt with pleats – you had to make sure all your books and stuff fitted in your backpack so that you would have one hand free to open doors and the other hand free to HOLD DOWN YOUR SKIRT to stop it blowing up in the wind. In 5th and 6th form, girls only had that one option, while boys had the option of trousers or shorts. To be fair, they’ve changed the skirt to a version that doesn’t look like it would blow up anymore, but I doubt that was a consideration when they chose it.
Can’t believe the principal in this situation – are they ensuring that all students have a locker? and a safe place to change? and that school starts late enough to accomodate the need to change first? and that students won’t get into trouble if they don’t have time to change? Of course not.
So let me get this straight: girls are required to wear certain clothes, then blamed for whatever happens to them while wearing said clothes? Gee, thanks, patriarchy.
Oh no, not *blamed* blamed. They’re just the ones who are supposed to do everything to fix it, by going to school earlier and in civvies. I’m sure that makes all the difference, for sufficiently small values of difference.
What Jo Tamar said. It’s bad enough when this sort of shit is thrown at adult women, but now we’re talking about kids, for whom the principal has a specific responsibility of protection. It’s telling how the immediate solution that comes to mind is not one where he or she is the one who has to do something.
It seems satire is really now redundant. Kaz Cooke, back in the 90s sometime in her wonderful essay collection Get a Grip, wrote that of course men harass women and girls on the street, just look at all those enticing nun’s habits and schoolgirl uniforms, don’t they realise they’re wearing fetish garb?? Now this Toronto policeman seems to be saying the same thing for realz. *More headdesking*
This video fits the Toronto Police too well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5atPYaxX0lM&feature=related