His Name Was Paul

This piece contains content on sexual harassment and assault.

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HIs Name was Paul by Lily Granai - photo by Sonjia Lippmann

His name was Paul.

Paul was kind to me, he was friendly, but something was wrong, something was off. He asked me questions I didn’t want to answer, he said he had a crush on me, he kept calling until I answered. I knew that something was wrong, and I was lucky enough to get out before it was too late.

But I can’t speak for all victims. For many people, the result of a relationship like this one is much more damaging. Every 73 seconds someone is raped or sexually abused, adding up to 493, 648 incidents every year.

Dear Men,
Why do you think that you have the right to tell me what to do, to use me? What are women to you?

They say:
“Smile more”
“Keep your head down”
“Ladies don’t sit like that”
“Talk less.”

Well, I will talk as much as I want, I will sit how I want, I will pull my head up, I will not smile for you.

Every 73 seconds someone is raped or sexually abused, but I am not supposed to say that. Teachers always say, “that’s not appropriate,” “we don’t talk about that,” “I’m not allowed to answer your questions, go ask your parents.”

I know that countless women have an experience like Paul. But why have they been silenced? Why have the male victims been silenced? Why has the world silenced them? Not everyone is the same, and telling the stories of harassment, being manipulated, abuse, rape, and being hurt is so much more important than any informational health class video. So speak up and don’t let anyone tell you not to because this is a problem that can’t be fixed with one person or in a few hours. It takes courage to speak up, but you matter and you will be heard.

If you or someone you know would like more information or support regarding sexual assault, violence, or harassment, please visit our resources page.
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Lily Granai is a member of the class of 2024 and will graduate from Howard High School in Columbia, Maryland. Lily enjoys theater, improv, tennis, going on walks, FaceTiming friends, and Grey's Anatomy. Lily is very active in BBYO and writes for their newspaper as well.
Accompanying photo: “Mind Your Business” by Sonja Lippman