Miyanda is a new Grade 8 student. She is gradually making friends and getting to know some of the girls in her grade. At lunch time, she usually sits with the same small group of girls. Just before the bell rings, she goes to her locker to get her books for her next class. Her locker is at the far end of the building, a long way from the cafeteria where everyone is congregated over the lunch period. Usually, the hallway is supervised by a teacher and a hall monitor, but she is often alone when she is at her locker.
Recently, a group of five boys who hang out in the hallway have begun to whistle at her and call out to her when she passes them, rating her appearance. They follow her and approach her while she is at her locker, making fun of her clothing. Sometimes they tell her she is really “hot” and sexy, other times they tell her they want to see more of her, that she should be wearing skimpier clothing. One day, a boy came up to her and put his arm around her, asking her out on a date. The other boys stood back, watching and laughing. Eventually, they came across her in the cafeteria and started bothering her while she was eating lunch with her new friends. One boy sat down very close to her and started touching her hair.
Miyanda feels ashamed and afraid, believing there is something wrong with her. She has begun to develop stomach aches and often tells her mother she wants to stay home from school. When she is at school, she spends her time at recess and lunch hiding in the girls' washroom. She tends to occupy a cubicle for the whole time, since it is the only place in the school where she feels safe.
Miyanda’s school has a buddy system for new students, and Miyanda was matched with an older female student – Linda. One day, Linda found Miyanda in the washroom, and asked her why she was there. Miyanda hesitated and looked down, saying nothing. Linda suggested they go for a walk around the school yard. Miyanda felt safe with Linda and decided to go with her. She told Linda what had been going on. Linda suggested they go talk to her social science teacher, because Linda remembered the teacher talking with her class about problems like this.
Miyanda talked with the teacher, very hesitantly at first, then more readily as she grew to trust her. The teacher chatted with her a couple of times, respectfully listening to what she wanted and how she felt comfortable dealing with the situation. Miyanda was very clear that she did not want to tell the principal or have the teacher intervene. The teacher asked if she thought she could say anything to the boys. Miyanda gulped, then said she thought she could. The teacher helped Miyanda practice assertive responses, and Miyanda felt she could try to speak out. The next time the boys approached her, she turned, stood up straight, looked them in the eye, and said, "Leave me alone!" The boys laughed nervously, but backed off and eventually stopped harassing Myanda.