School Assembly Sparks Outrage After Blaming Sexual Assault On Female Students’ Short Skirts

A headteacher at The Elton High School in Bury in the UK was forced to apologize after students said they were told in an assembly that female students’ short skirts were to blame for any unwanted sexual attention or assault they were subject to. A group of students took to Instagram to express their indignation at the assembly which had been called to discuss the topics of rape and sexual abuse.


  1. The female students were outrage at being blamed for male students’ actions. In a now-deleted Instagram post on the @exposing.eltonhigh account, they wrote: “This assembly did not address the problems that we have at Elton, but rather [blames] girls for the length of their skirts as the sole reason for up-skirting and unwanted sexual attention.”
  2. Women are always being blamed for the actions of men. The students also claimed that one of the school’s staff members told them that rolling up their skirts could prove to be a “distraction” for fellow pupils as well as male teachers. Talk about victim-blaming!
  3. Even parents are horrified at the school’s stance. As one parent told Manchester Evening News, “Elton are always complaining to parents about the children’s skirts, jewelry, uniform, make-up. Our children are there to be educated and they concentrate more on everything else.” Another wrote: “Girls should not be told how to dress to stop males looking at them.”
  4. The headteacher is trying to backtrack. Jonathan Wilton claimed that the discussion about short skirts was entirely separate to the one about sexual assault and said he was sorry if there was “any false impression” out there about the assembly. “We held assemblies in school last week to discuss the issue of peer on peer abuse across society, how it presents itself in schools and how it should be reported and addressed,” he wrote in a letter to parents. “As is usual at the start of the school day, our assemblies also made reference to the need to wear uniform smartly, including by not rolling up skirts at the waist. Following the assembly, some students took to social media to express concerns that we had linked shortened skirts and abuse. This was absolutely not our intention.”

Wilton says he continues to have “positive conversations” with students on this topic.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill