That was a very powerfully written essay and I’m so sorry for the child that was you that went through this and wish I could go back in time and modify your experiences so you had some rights… some privacy… something that allowed you to maintain your sense of personal integrity that was taken from you and left a hole inside.
One of my friends would positively shake in terror during PE changing ’til I pointed out a corner where nobody went and said, “go over there, nobody will see you change”. ’til that point, he would fake illness, give himself diarhea – whatever it took to get out of gym glass. But being able to change in a more secure corner of the locker room, he was better.
I was lucky in that changing in front of others wasn’t a problem. Occasionally I’d catch someone staring but I blocked it out of my head and after a while I stopped noticing if someone was looking or not.
But again, I was lucky and did not have the unfortunate milestones of your journey.
I don’t see any benefit to communal changing rooms for children. Simple cheap curtains would solve the issue, at least in locker rooms, although other violations of a child’s sense of personal body integrity still remain.
At least in the USA, though, this may be a hard issue to push through, as there is a popular book among teachers and the education system over the past few years that believes that “Grit” is the answer. Make things tougher for kids so that that perservere and get stronger. I don’t remember the author’s name but it inspired the administration of the failed Common Core curriculum to a strong degree… and it’s simply awful for youth rights.
You never forgot. I never forgot. Think how many people walk around trying ot make themselves believe that they’re strong but in their quiet moments know that they’re not? How much they bring upon others perpatrating this myth of “toughness”. Willful amnesia perhaps but not toughness. Toughness is a but a story, a fable.
Yes, I’d change your history if it could remove the pain without a question. I appreciate your depth and I enjoyed meeting you. Hi