Don’t Be Kind To Everyone

By Sandra Arias

novoiceWhat did your parents teach you that you won’t teach your kids?

A young woman answered, “My parents always told me to be kind to everyone. I won’t teach my children that. It’s not always good to be kind to everyone.”

She was so young, but she knew this. Why did it take me so long to learn?

That’s from Debra Anna Davis’ piece, “Betrayed by the Angel.”

It takes me back to a time when I too was young, shy, and intimidated by boys. I didn’t know why I was a target. I was polite, spoke when spoken to, and never caused a scene. I thought being a good girl would keep problems at bay. But it made me weak.

I am a different person today.

If only I had known then what I know now. 

***

Just weeks before my last year of middle school I got the most depressing news a thirteen year old could hear, “You are moving to a new school.” How on earth would I make friends? Should I dress cooler? Will boys find me attractive? I cried and pled, but that was that.

The new school year finally arrived and I couldn’t have been more awkward. A month later I met my bully, Brandon.

Brandon was the most popular guy at school. Girls drooled over him, guys admired him, faculty and staff were charmed by him.

But one morning in math class he grabbed my butt. My eyes went wide and I froze. I quietly sat down and wished for him to vanish. That was just the start.

Others saw how uncomfortable I was, but no one stood up to the popular guy. The boys didn’t want to look less manly by protecting the new girl. And the girls didn’t want to lose Brandon’s attention.

When he grabbed me I wanted to yell, curse, transform into a muscular, twenty foot women and throw him across the room. But I thought that girls shouldn’t be rude.

I categorized how girls and boys should behave. Brandon was a typical boy, acting out typical boy desires, so I was less harsh than if I had seen things differently.

In a shy voice I asked if he would stop. When he didn’t stop I felt ignored and defeated.

It was years later before I knew that it was more important to protect myself than worry about causing a scene.

Growing up with a strong mother and three older sisters, I blamed myself for not being tough enough to handle this on my own. So I confided in a teacher, but in a sugar-coated way, without explaining the extent of the harassment: “He poked me here and there and said mean things about me.” She wanted to bring his parents in for a talk. I panicked and said that wasn’t necessary. So she just gave Brandon a lecture.

Being the new girl I was scared to draw negative attention, especially since my bully was popular.

I worried students would hate me and think I exaggerated. But if I did nothing girls would call me, “easy” or “slut.” The classic double bind with no good choice.

Months passed and then — to no one’s surprise — Brandon was put under house arrest and left our school.

I had one of my best days ever!

The next year an amazing teacher preached women’s rights and introduced me to “feminism.” I’m still reserved at times, but now I let my voice be heard when I feel uncomfortable or discriminated against in any way. I’m thankful for the knowledge I have now. And it’s exciting that my learning doesn’t end here.

This was written by one of my students, Who gave permission to post it.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
So Nice We Let Others Hurt Us
Saying Yes When You Want To Say No
Learning to Say No in 520 Languages

 

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on May 23, 2014, in feminism, gender, psychology, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.

  1. More power to Sandra… it’s better that she learned late than never. I only wish that girls would start to feel empowered at a younger age. In my view, not only should girls learn empowerment at home, but also starting in pre-K.

    But in a patriarchal society, how can this be achieved? If only there were more feminist teachers in the school system (as in the blog above) that were not hesitant to espouse feminists views…

  2. Sounds like she was confusing “kindness” with being a doormat. (No offense intended, sorry if this is too blunt.) One can be kind to everyone without believing this means one can’t stand up for oneself or correct injustices when they occur.

    Kindness is not weakness.
    Believing you have no voice, or right to kindness from others, is.

    • You may be right that it’s a mistaken notion. But I don’t agree. For it can sure feel like being unkind — and I do feel that some level of unkindness is involved at times in standing up for yourself. I know I have avoided it at times in the past. Like when my mother-in-law couldn’t see me without being nasty toward me. I didn’t want to be unkind and hoped she’d get over it. She didn’t. So I told her that if she continued treating me that way I wouldn’t see her again. And then I followed through. I don’t think my behavior could be called kind. But I feel it was necessary.

  3. Definitely hard to be the new girl even w/ out that kind of inappropriate behavior. So many girls are taught to “take a joke” or “not be too sensitive” …. I know when stuff like that has happened to me I had felt that I had to be easy going about it. Wonderful that this writer has learned to use her voice to hold her boundaries and hold people accountable for their actions.

  4. Caroline Cox

    This story is all too familiar to me except mine started in high school. I came from a christian school and that was where we were taught that good girls are quiet and polite etc. So I was dumbfounded when high school started I couldn’t walk down the hall without getting my butt slapped, my knee rubbed or having hands try to go down my shirt. i would ask myself “what did i do ?”, “why me?” finally about the 2nd semester rolled around and i was so sick of this behavior, I was walking to English and my butt gets slapped, i was able to grab the guys wrist and said in the darkest scariest voice a little 4’10 freshmen girl can “don’t ever touch me again” he then retreated quickly and a giant cheer erupted around me. i went from being a nobody wallflower to one of the popular kids just because i stood up for myself. i think that kids thees days need to know that its OK to speak up and confront the person about it, (maybe not the exact way I did). This should be done early so by the time they get to middle/high school they know how to handle it or prevent it from happening in the first place.

  5. It actually happened a lot through my chidhood. I couldn’t stand up for myself when people judged or said crap to me. My mom always tells me I have to forgive or ignore this stuff to be a nice person. I hate when my mom says that. It’s unfair. If I have children, of course I’ll teach my children to be a nice person, but not always. Making sure thatmy children won’t lose thier voice and they can speak up when they need to. Polite and quiet are not always good ways to treat people sometimes, if you endure people’s bad behavior, they might think you’re weak and they will keep hurting you over and over

  6. Happy memorial weekend. I know this isn’t relevant to this particular blog, but I thought I’d post this news as it definitely relates to your blogs and themes. This one can be toward men and I think you’ve discussed stuff before, but this only shows the problems with society with the pressures women feel but also men. Sad news there was a shooting today in Santa Barabara here’s the article. http://abcnews.go.com/US/suspect-uc-santa-barbara-shooting-identified-family/story?id=23853918

    7 people died and 7 hurt I think from drive by gun fire, a mass shooting and premeditated. It;s unfortunate the burden men feel and pressure of masculinity and the crimes that can come from it. Obviously mental instability is a lot to do as this man was not right in the head but there were things that stuck out in my heard. The boy had pent up anger from being rejected by girls, and he was a virgin at college at 22.

    “There was an incident probably a year and a half ago where he was…he fell from a balcony at a party or was thrown off of it. I think he was probably a victim from my understanding of bullying throughout his life… I’m sure that had played a role in the terrible consequences from last night,” the lawyer said.” Something in the video was about his revenge on others and anger with girls having sex with I’m assuming his perceived “bay boys” and not a good guy like him. There’s other articles. But wow, boys and the pressure of society with boys feeling like they have to get laid or if not so, they are useless and not having fun or friends, they are not a man.

  7. I honestly think Sandra was too kind of a girl. But it is better late than never. You should never let guys especially teen guys take advantage of you like the way he did to that girl. It was good the way she stood up for herself. And that is another reason why I don’t like new schools and being the new kid, because there is always someone who is going to bother you. I know it may seem tough to stand up for yourself, especially in these kind of situations, but once you do you will feel good about yourself. And after she told that guy off, she said it was the best day of her life. I think all young women should be able to feel that too. And I also believe that more people will respect “us” women if more of us stand up for each other in these kinds of situations. I think that guys sometimes take advantage of us girls because they know that we are too kind. We should not be so kind. I give a big high five to Sandra!

  8. I thought this was interesting from someone on another forums in regards to the shooting. I’ll post it since I think it was a good point.

    “He was definitely mentally disturbed. He had this fixation on sex and on being a virgin and how he felt he was entitled to women and sex, but they would rather be with “brutish men”.

    He was twisted, most definitely.

    That’s the shame in all these mass shootings. It’s not about the guns. It’s about socially isolated, deranged young adult men with guns. Pretty much every mass shooting has had the same shooter profile.

    Socially isolated white male in their teens or early 20s who hate the world and want to go out in a blaze of glory as a form of vengeance against the world that “harmed” them.

    This is an unfortunate consequence of a western world where the promotion of individualistic ideals and freedoms often leads to social isolation for people who don’t fit in. Not every socially isolated guy is a mass murderer in waiting, but every mass murderer seems to be socially isolated.

    Not sure what the solution is for this other than to reach out to others who seem to be social isolated and include them in their life somehow.

    These guys fester in their isolation and let their evil thoughts take over until they finally blow up. If they had more good social experiences in their lives, they might never reach that point.”

  9. look at this article. I guess women are now speaking out about sexism being apart of this and hashtag yeswomen or something. And culture a lot to do with some men having such toxic views of women that manifests to hatred and see attacks on women or people in general like elliot rodger. His youtube video had such a hatred toward women. Here’s an interesting article on the debate and clip too. http://www.policymic.com/articles/89905/what-elliot-rodger-said-about-women-reveals-why-we-need-to-stamp-out-misogyny

  10. http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/brand-men-must-be-needed-because-we-cant-be-wanted/

    It’s sad, I know male pressure with sex has been talked about but I thinnk it’s good to go further than that. And I think the article here brings out the other perspective. It seems like things can be interlinked. I feel sad for both women and men from different points of view. I feel bad how women have such pressures and deal with fear and still things going on like with culture objectifying women. I feel bad, that it has to be this way, because of a deep rooted male insecurity. I sometimes wonder if such cultures came not because of hate but deep rooted fear of men feeling they are worthless or will become so. Because like women may feel their worth is tied to beauty, men feel their worth is being the bread winner, protector, innovator.

    With women progressing and being equals, it brings the fear for some men that, these guys are now useless and not needed and something they have to rely on as guy’s obviously aren’t wanted or don’t feel that way. It’s like how a bully treats others, and that’s a lot to do because the bully does so to feel superior and compensate because deep down inside he feels worthless and insecure and bullying others makes him feel better. It’s sad women are treated this way and sad, I think it can all boil to that in varying degrees, to extreme and muslin fantatics, to here in america and mysoginy, etc. The terrible treatment, deeply rooted, perhaps sub conscious from feat these men have and trying to stop women’s progress out of fear that an equal woman will make men or these men not needed or worthless as they definitely don’t know what being wanted is.

    • Yes, I suspect that one reason men objectify women is to take their power back. Men can feel like beautiful women have power over them. But if these men can reduce them to objects, while remaining subjects, themselves — and thus superior, they can even the scales.

      But these men don’t have to see the women as superior and having power over them. Though it may take some work to be able to do that — see them as equals.

      I know that some men feel like they aren’t wanted so all they can hope for is to be needed, but they only feel that way because they don’t really understand women. Just because men aren’t seen as sexy in the way that women are seen as sexy by men doesn’t mean that men aren’t wanted. And plenty of women would prefer to be seen the way that men are seen by women.

  11. Marissa Gonzales

    Being a girl I can relate to Sandra’s story. If you allow a boy to touch you he will continue to think it’s okay and this can turn into a lot of unwanted attention. There is a point in a girls life though where she needs to one respect herself and two let him know it’s not okay and its uncomfortable.

    When you let this unwanted behavior and touch to occur it gives a boy the feeling of dominance. The only time a MAN should have any dominance to you is when he is your father but many girls don’t understand that and look for dominance in a male. I’m not saying Sandra was doing this but she sure wasn’t sticking up for herself.

    Girls should always say how they feel when it comes to touching and sexual remarks because in reality it could be sexual harassment and this problem can and will continue if you don’t put a stop to it. I feel Sandra should have let someone know, school administators, her parents, someone instead of doing nothing. Making her a “doormat” and an easy target.

    I will teach my daughter that she needs to 1. speak her mind, and 2. stick up for herself because if she doesn’t speak up for herself nobody will. I won’t be able to help her if I don’t know there is a problem.

  12. Be kind to everyone, this hit a cord with me. But more in my adult hood then in my elementary school years. I find myself having trouble of where to draw the line of nice and firm. As with Sandra, I have this inner feeling of always being polite to people weather they are paying unwanted attention to me or not. In the most recent case, I have on occasion been approached by men wanting to talk to me. It all starts so innocently, say in line at the grocery store, just chatting over prices of food or latest news in the area, this ultimately leads to them asking me for lunch or dinner. So my thought is at what point do I tell the man that I am not available, that I am married. I mean I don’t want to burst out I’M MARRIED, every time a man happens to talk to me, on the other hand I don’t want which ever man to believe there is more to our conversation then whats really there. So when is it okay say “hey, so this conversation is just a conversation”. I have talked about this with a few of my girlfriends that tell me I am just to nice to these guy that start chatting me up. But how and when is it necessary to stop being nice and be mean, Or is there maybe a happy medium where I can say hey thanks for the offer, i am flattered, but not interested. I can’t just ignore the guy who is talking to me, but like I said I cant just burst out that I am not available if he just comments on the weather to me. With that, it seem us women have two options. We are either a tease, being to nice, or we are a bitch, for being to mean.

  13. I totally agree with the idea that being a good girl and being kind to everyone can cause my harm than good. Sandra makes a really good point that being kind and respectful can cause girls to become submissive to the world around her and cause her to become unreactive to the world around her. It basically comes down to girls being taught that being tough and aggressive are negative traits to have and that you will ultimately be labeled a “bitch.” However, being secure in ones skin and able to stand up to the world around you is worth the risk of being labeled something by ignorant people. The fact that Sandra had the courage to stand up and say something against her bully makes me very happy but there are still a lot of girls that would never speak up and that fact needs to be addressed when raising children.

  14. sheryel charan

    That’s wonderful to see that she was able to overcome her past in such a way. Thankfully the boy was pulled out of school before something worse could’ve happened. I could only imagine it having it suck to change schools and have to worry about people liking you or not. When I started college a few years back I was uptight and nervous because I too was scared of what people thought of me or what people were going to say to me, so I always tried to prepare myself. After my second quarter at foothill, I began to learn no one bugs you and everyone just keeps to themselves and that’s when I feel like is when I started to “blossom”. I don’t really care of what people think of me nor am I afraid of what someone will say to me based upon my appearance, because they are judging what they see right then and there, they don’t know who you are and what youre all about.

  15. I feel like a lot of young teens and women can relate to this. It’s true that it’s not always good to be kind to everyone, especially when girls let themselves be sexually harassed. Young women should not stay silent and let themselves be violated like that. There are many out there who have been sexually assaulted, yet stay quiet and keep it themselves. I read an article last night on how AnnaLynne McCord’s has finally opened up about her sexual assault. Here is a message that McCord has for women and girls, “you have a voice. Don’t put yourself in a box. Don’t let the polite lies of society silence you. Honestly, I would endure everything all over again — it has led me to my own revolution.” I couldn’t agree more.

  16. In principle, I don’t agree with this. I am a naturally kind person and tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. Honestly, I grew up around and in turmoil most of my life and never wanted to be like the cruel individuals that I’ve met along my journey in life. I’ve seen people dust people under the rug just to get impress another person or just for giggles. I’ve seen my own family members rob their own kin. And I’ve seen others, bully and harass people for no other reasons than to boost their own ego or to fit in. The reality of our capitalist-driven society is that we live in a very cruel world, but there are good people out there like myself who douse themselves in kindness regardless of the circumstances. I was bullied throughout my childhood years and throughout high school and online. And as much as those years were a living hell, I never let those circumstances ruined who I truly was, a kind person. Also, I left my last job because I was sexually harassed on a daily basis. I was the newest employee and was witness to numerous illegal activities that occurred on the job. When I blew the whistle, I was sexually harassed in retaliation. It took balls for me to leave that job and sue. I have learned that it is necessary and imperative to harden ones self especially in certain work environments like the entertainment industry and even offline. It is also important to remember that not everyone has your best interests in mind, don’t trust too easily, and to assess people on an individual basis.

  17. Don’t be kind to everyone! I definitely wish that someone would have given me the memo when I was younger. Just like the writer of this blog, I went through the fear of standing up for myself against guys. It was hard for me to say “no” to them and so it made me appear “easy” as they call it. I don’t even know why I could not say no. I just was used to being polite and not causing a scene just like her. As I got older I admired girls who were stuck up and mean to guys and I wish my parents would have told me to be the same way with guys. I know I definitely will teach my daughter to e mean to boys. That way she will avoid being involved with men too early as I did. I had a boyfriend at an early age and it was because I was a pushover and just went with the flow. Not good. And I loved reading that I am not the only woman who suffered from this issue.

  18. Lenore hamilton

    In reading this blog I couldn’t help but feel sad for Sandra. It seemed as if there was some confusion about kindness versus respect which I believe is often misconstrued when raising girls. I experienced a similar yet different situation as Sandra. My parents raised me to be respectful especially towards elders. I made an effort to honor my parents request and respect their values. However once I became an adult I learned that my parents’ request for me to respect elders silenced me from speaking up and having a voice. I can recall a time when an elder blamed me for breaking an item at church. I knew I wasn’t the culprit of causing damage to the item, yet I couldn’t speak on my behalf or I would have made the situation worse by being disrespectful. This was a lesson that I vowed to never teach my children. I wanted my kids to certainly be respectful but I never wanted them to lose their voice. As an adult I realized that their was value in my parents teaching me to be respectful but again I also believe that I lost self advocacy and the right to be heard. This is something that I refused to allow my children to be taught and now my grandchildren.

  19. Unfortunate that this occurred to someone. And I am sorry to you that had to endure this. However, I am not naïve enough to think that this is a rare thing. It is very common. Not only in the United States, but everywhere. It makes me very sad to see/hear about events like this. I have many close friends that have gone through events similar to this, and worse, and are still (and forever most likely) feeling the repercussions of a tragic past. There is the story of the stoning in Pakistan of a woman who married a man for love instead of marrying a man that her family had found for her. My wife says that in South Korea, things mentioned in this article are prevalent in that society as well. And they don’t make a big fuss about it because “that’s what boys do.” That response is one of the most frustrating things as well. There should be change. There should be equality. But I begin to wonder, how much is cultural? At what point are we trying to change the culture of a different race/country? Even if we hate it and cannot understand it, at what point are we the bullies?

    • When it comes to different cultures, it’s best to have a dialogue instead of a lecture. Surely we can learn something from them, too. But it’s hard to escape your cultural prison — whether that prison is in the US or elsewhere — until you learn that things don’t have to be the way they are, which helps to become clear when you learn that things are different in other places.

  20. Similar incidents such as that which happened to Ms. Arias’ student continue to exist even today, where certain gender expectations often lead to individuals being unable to stand up for themselves or a cause, as it may be deemed un-ladylike or unmanly. Although as we grow older we are able to realize that if we act opposite of our gender expectations that it is appropriate and ok, such is not the case for students in elementary or middle school, for example. One can only imagine what the result would be if they were in the shoes of Ms. Arias student, who was inappropriately poked by the popular bully in school; if they stood up to his actions openly and loudly, she would have most likely been have labeled a loser, rat, prude, or as stated, a tomboy. If nothing was said or done, she would have been labeled as stated, a “slut” or being “easy” as she would have allowed anyone to touch her inappropriately and be ok with it.
    Unfortunately, these expectations of how we should act if we are male or female often lead to dire circumstances and do not relay appropriate and ethical ways of living to our youth. Such expectations are similar to how some ignorant individuals claim that rape victims were raped due to “wanting it” and if they didn’t “want it” they would have stopped the guy. Ultimately, such expectations are used as a scapegoat for those who behave in such ways and silences those who need to be heard.

  21. I feel as if many women often go through situations like this. My parents raised me in a similar way; I am polite, quiet, keep to myself, and do what is expected of me. Overall, I was raised to be a good girl. At times, this has been an advantage. If something goes wrong or something does not get done they often do not blame me, they assume I had a good reason for not doing something. However, always being the good girl keeps me from letting “my voice be heard when I feel uncomfortable or discriminated against in any way.” I feel that the constant image of being the good girl makes it more difficult to break out of that role to who I truly am.

  22. I can certainly empathize with the writer in this situation, dealing with the untoward advances of young boys like butt grabbing. Growing up in my middle school it was the norm, students even a had a day dedicated to it called “slap ass Friday”. Girls my age would accept these advances because they didn’t want to “cause trouble” or they didn’t want seem “rude” for not feeling flatter when a boy did such a thing. Most girls were taught to be nice to everyone and to think of someone else is feelings first instead of their own. I was lucky that my mother had taught me differently, she taught me treat people like they treated me. This lesson certainly help me deal with this situation when it first happen to me. I wasn’t afraid to speak out and stand up for myself even if it seemed un-ladylike. This helped prevent a situation like this from happening again to me. I agree that more girls should be taught not be nice to everyone.

  23. Trevor scott

    There’s a fine line between kindness and respect. Definitely respect everyone just like she did. And honestly, you should probably be kind too. But now this is just semantics. She did a really good thing by remaining calm but wasn’t aggressive enough on taking action. It’s easy for me to say now I know.
    I mighy not speak for every guy but I can speak for most. No means no. We have ears that connect to our brains. Speak up and mean it and we’ll listen. It’s pretty bad that it comes to this sometimes but that’s life you don’t have to put up with that stuff.

  24. I am familiar with this sort of experience, but it is in a different context. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it in a general case, so I’ll use an example. I had a relationship, once, a while ago, that I thought was the best thing ever. We were together for three and a half years before she broke it off without warning or wanting to talk about it. I was so hurt that I’m still dealing with the effects today.

    But I still loved her, so I never told her how much she hurt me, because I knew it would hurt her and possibly ruin the friendship that I still wanted to have afterwards.

    The case in the post above is far more clear-cut than mine. While her problem is weighing two flavors of external abuse against each other (being bullied or possibly being alienated) my problem is weighing my own well-being against the well-being of another. For her, it sounds like the problem is her trained timidness, while for me, it is because I care too much about other people.

    The problems both have similar results, so I can can certainly identify with the author.

  25. It’s really interesting to think about where some people draw the line for being nice. I know I’m always worried about offending someone or not being nice enough or not doing random acts of kindness and I know its because of how I’ve been raised. My grandmother is a marshmallow, and although she’s stopped this habit, in the past, she had given a ride or two to strangers. She’s also someone who had constantly told me to be nice to everyone and she herself was an example to follow in that aspect. I learned a lot about just naturally doing little things for people like offering to help them carry groceries, opening doors, and even just making casual conversation. One thing that I’m not sure if I necessarily picked up from her or not was the fact that during a conversation with a stranger I would uncomfortably give more information than I wanted to all because I felt it would be rude to deny them an answer to something. Needless to say this has led me to give up my email, my facebook, and sometimes (but more rarely) my phone number to people I either just met or hardly knew. It’s weird because even during the conversation I would have an uneasy feeling and yet still go through with it just because I didn’t want to appear rude and trying to lie and say, “Oh I don’t have a facebook or cell phone” either wouldn’t come out or I couldn’t get away with it since I would probably currently have a phone in my hand. The more I observed this behavior I did, I could never understand why I actually thought it would be rude to refuse information and I would continue to do it. Just recently I had met a young man while riding the bus, in this situation I felt kind of trapped because I was going to be riding it for a while and so was he. Somehow, because I was talking with him even before we had gotten on the bus, I felt it would be rude to A. not sit next to him (it was also pretty full) and B. not talk to him when he continued the conversation. I tried to focus on my phone so I wouldn’t have to have a conversation but I felt it would be rude to try and be short with him. Long story short, even though I felt uncomfortable with the situation, I ended up giving him my facebook. Thankfully, he didn’t ask for my number but also because of his age and his friendliness I felt like I lucked out in the stranger danger aspect. The thing about this is, I’m 20 now and I still haven’t learned the art of saying no even when I feel uncomfortable. Though this may seem like a little incident I know if I continue it could one day lead to trouble. It’s true, that standing up for oneself should be more important than the fear of offending someone. I just hope that I can learn it quickly because up until this point I have been truly blessed to not encounter any real threat.

    • Yes, I remember going through the same struggles myself. I’m glad he turned out to be safe. Maybe tell them you have a policy of only giving out personal information to people you know, and thank them for asking and tell them you are flattered.

  26. You can’t be nice to everyone. There is no way you should speak up about everything because sometimes not giving a bully attention can be better than giving them anything because their goal is to get attention. There are some times that you must speak up though despite what people think of it. It will raise your self-esteem when you learn to do so and help you to be happy and feel safe and whole in your own skin and there is nothing more important than that. I learned in elementary school that I couldn’t let people walk all over me and that by speaking up that I not only was helping myself but helping other people from a distance become happy and healthier people who didn’t have the confidence yet to speak up for themselves. After being bullied in seventh grade and carrying around an air of not caring I found myself the next year having girls come up to me who would tell me that I inspired them to be themselves no matter what others thought and we formed our own group of friends who had the best time in our last year of Jr.High School and early into High School. I don’t regret it and you won’t either once you get used to it.

  27. I really love this article, I think it is so important for women to stand up for themselves, what they believe in and stand up for others who are too quiet to be heard. I have been in a situation like this countless times and just like the girl in the story, at first I was confused by what happened and didnt want to make any noise because I didnt realize the extent of how bad the occurrence was. Once I talked to my sisters and friends I realized being violated and belittled isnt something you sit by and let happen, you stop it. After having many discussions, I never sat quietly again as things occurred. Whether it was a situation of my own or seeing someone else be picked on, I always felt the need to get involved and take a stand. I hope more and more women learn to feel this way because letting others control you and manipulate you is only going to bring you down.

  28. I agree with the message that the story is giving me but I’m actually quite baffled by the story itself. It is important that women stand up for themselves, letting others know that you’re simply not a mat that they can walk over, that you’re a human being and that you have your own needs that you need to prioritize over others’ needs.

    I don’t mean to be rude, but I personally thought that she was letting herself become a mat for Brandon. In that situation, grabbing anyone’s butt, even if its a joke, is still considered to be sexual harassment. As soon as she was groped, that should have been the first flag to tell someone of Brandon’s harassment. It doesn’t matter whether or not the teachers think highly of a particular student, teachers are there to educate and protect students, not play favorites.

    • As a guy it can be hard to understand the fear women feel with regard to someone bigger, stronger, someone who may rape. Plus, it may be hard to understand the socialization to be kind. Guys are taught to be tough, by comparison.

  29. This article really hit home for me. It makes me think about every single situation I’ve been kind to people when i really shouldn’t have. Luckily it hasn’t landed me in any really bad situations but it had put me in situations that i REALLY didn’t want to be in. I know that I will not be teaching my kids that kindness is always the answer because its not. People should not be kind to people who are going to hurt them.

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