Since moving to Italy 9 years ago, I get stared at on the street and in public places, have comments made about my appearance (pretty much daily by the way), have been groped on public transport, almost assaulted in a taxi and flashed at near a beach. If I were to list my sexual harassment experiences of being a girl/woman in England and travelling the world for the 25 years prior to coming here, it would probably fill a novel. None of these experiences had anything to do with what I was wearing.

I feel extremely passionately about educating young people so that they don’t grow up to be perpetrators or bystanders to public sexual harassment or assault, and I understand to my core the anger teenage girls feel when they are being told what they ‘should’ be wearing or how they ‘should’ be acting to keep themselves safe.

At a time where they are finding their own style whilst trying to fit in to their peer group and assert some independence, it can be extremely difficult to be told by a parent that you shouldn’t wear something due to how other people will react to you. At the same time, all the parent is doing is trying to keep their child as protected as possible.

In my conversation with a group of 16/17 year olds recently, I could feel the frustration they felt at having to think about this when dressing and although they didn’t like being told what NOT to wear by their parents, they understood where the parent was coming from.

Add to this the sometimes ‘double standards’ girls can feel about school uniform policies and you can see why our teenage girls can feel overwhelmed and frustrated when they just want to be able to be left alone to walk outside their house in peace!!

Do you comment on what your teenager is wearing?