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I Was Never a Cool Kid

Olivia Oguma,
New York City
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October 7, 2011

When I was in school
I was never one of the cool kids
But maybe, I wanted to be
Other girls did too
The girls who got attention from guys, thought they were cool
Whether the attention was good or bad…
“It’s better to be noticed than not” someone said.
I got no attention but I was happier reading a book
I realized..
It’s not always good to be catcalled
Called a slut
Have people harass you at the lockers
Doesn’t make you cool
It doesn’t mean that guys like you
To be looked at like that, and harassed like that
It’s not a positive thing
What puts us girls in such a place that we think it’s ok?
When that harassing goes to another level
When that harassing turns to assault?
Then what happens?
What happens when no one will listen, when there is no one to turn to
When BOYS WILL BE BOYS is the answer,
But really is that ever an answer?
Isn’t that really a way of saying its OK to behave badly because of your gender?
When I was in school
I was never a cool kid

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and this week the ACLU in conjunction with some of our youth clients and V-Girls, a global network of youth activists and advocates empowering themselves and one another to create the change they imagine for the world, is presenting a blog series. “Your School Your Rights — Ending Sexual Violence” is designed to highlight the many voices impacted by sexual violence and harassment in schools and the tools students, teachers and parents can use to fight back. The girls, expressing themselves in both poetry and prose, underscore the fact that kids have a RIGHT to be protected against gender-based violence in schools.

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