Freshman Year of High School

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Its because Im a girl, I know. This has been one of my most dreaded yet constant phrases of my childhood, which usually was the ending of a discussion with my parents. I never understood why my gender was relevant and felt like the deciding factor when discussing plans I wanted to make, but never mattered for my brother. There were only two of us, and I was the youngest. In the eyes of my younger self, my brother had all of the freedom in the world.

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He was able to go outside when he wanted, ride his bike through the neighborhood, and play basketball with his friends whenever he pleased. I could never wrap my mind around why I was unable to do the same things that my brother was allowed to do; and of course my parents response was Youll understand it when youre older. In retrospect, I realize that I confused my parents protectiveness as favoritism. I now see that my feelings of frustration towards them when it came to this stemmed from lack of knowledge of the things that were happening in America.

Freshman year of high school is when I became more informed about the assault that women face. My humanities teacher presented a lesson to us about gender-related issues, including harassment, sexual assault, and rape. It felt as if everything was coming full circle because I was now actually understanding the justifications for my parents precautions. Through this project we studied the mental, emotional, and physical effects that women face as victims, long with tips to help us be as safe as possible.

I was oblivious to the fact that according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, only 9% of sexual assault and rape victims are male, and 91% are female. Comprehending such a statistic was mind boggling. How was I unable to make that connection as a child? Now being aware of how prevalent this issue is, I found myself constantly on high alert. I adjusted how I walked down the street, making sure that I on the side of the sidewalk facing the cars so that one could not approach me unknowingly from behind; I would make sure to walk with only one earbud in to be aware of the sounds around me. I found myself, and still find myself, with my guard up even in my newest setting: college.

Be sure to always use the buddy system at night because it is always better to be safe rather than sorry a student tour guide at UC Santa Cruz said, as she laughed and gave us a thumbs up while we continued walking through a maze of redwood trees. This remark was one that went unnoticed by a majority of the group, but the two girls standing next to me definitely understood what she was referring to. Hearing this made me feel uneasy. While selecting the schools I was applying to, I had been analyzing facts such as retention rates and class ratios; not the amount of blue lights that were located on campus.

Although I consider the University of San Diego to be a safe place, it is not typical for other campuses to be as actively aware and preventing these issues. The support of the Campus Safety has helped me work on my own feelings of nervousness and anxiousness while doing simple tasks such as walking to and from places. The need to be hyper alert at all times that is experienced by women, and men, that is brought on by the statistics of assault is an issue that needs to continue being addressed on a national level.


Get Statistics. Sexual Assault Statistics | National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC),
Public Safety. Study of Human Trafficking in San Diego – Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies – University of San Diego,

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Freshman Year Of High School. (2019, May 15). Retrieved September 30, 2022 , from

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