The muted screams follow the dry cries. She stands alone; singular. She walks on the overcrowded grounds of earth yet feels she is captive somewhere drastically sparsely populated. Not because that’s what she wants, not because that’s her intentions but because of the forceful control he has over her.

1 in 5 women aged 16 - 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16. Sexual violence is often disregarded and misunderstood for ignorant minds fail to understand the importance of the word, “no”.

Trinity Mbelolo says, “If the word no is stated when one is being pressured into doing something against their will, then at that very moment the situation should come to an end, there’s no ifs or buts- just a no.” It should be voiced that sexual harassment is something that many young people face but can’t speak about due to the lack of understanding and knowledge in such sensitive area. Schools often turn a blind eye on misbehaved students without even intending to evaluate their internal situations; sexual harassment also occurs in places students are indoctrinated into believing is somewhere safe, their own school.  

No one, no matter the age, ethnicity, religion or social group should ever feel like their cries for help are constantly dismissed. The dictionary definition of the word, “No” is to give a negative response. Why is it not taught that saying the word isn’t always a bad thing, instead could potentially prevent one from getting hurt. The real definition is having the ability to stop yourself or someone committing an action against ones will.

Saying no to sexual harassment isn’t a negative response, it’s a chance to be free.

Yumna Bahar Zahra, Lister Community School.