Kiyoka Yahaba – TRANSCRIPT
On April 17, 2015, I, Kiyoka Yahaba, managed to miss two hours of maths class and not be considered absent. You’re probably wondering how I did this.
I was sexually assaulted on the train that morning. Now, by saying that out loud, I may have made a few of you quite uncomfortable. Hopefully, my overwhelming positivity can distract you a little bit. I’m not here to tell you what happened that day, or how it made me feel. I’m not even here for your sympathy.
Rather, I’m here to address a bigger issue that we face in society – sexism: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on a person’s gender. To talk about sexism, I’m going to have to talk about what happened after my assault. I go to a Japanese high school. When the news of my assault was reported to my school, the teachers separated the girls and the boys into separate classrooms. The girls were told to line up at the back of the classroom, while three female teachers assessed everyone’s skirt lengths.
If your skirt was considered “too short,” they were going to call your parents. This may seem like a military scene from a movie, but this is quite a normal situation at a Japanese high school. However, this routine check in particular was different from the others. The teachers sat all the girls down. And they told us that us girls should have more pride in how we portray ourselves. “Short skirts were asking for it,” “Long skirts showed a sense of integrity.” They didn’t finish there, though. They told us that us girls tempt boys. Personally, my exposed knees tempting? I was flattered; I mean, really I was getting attention.