Melanie McDonagh Melanie McDonagh

Teenage life has never been so fraught

(Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

You’ve heard about Everyone’s Invited? It’s the controversial new website for female students, mostly schoolgirls, to unburden themselves about boys behaving badly. It has trashed the reputation of some independent schools, Dulwich being the latest. There are sections for St Paul’s, Eton and Latymer Upper — and, among the private schools, my son’s state school, which takes girls in sixth form. The first thing my daughter, 14, does in the morning is to whip out her phone and scroll through the posts. ‘More from J’s school!’ she carols. ‘Look at these! Actual abuse!’ Frankly, I am far from pleased that she can understand the language on the wretched site.

I take a look and, my goodness, it’s sordid. A typical post is about girls going to parties, getting drunk (often so much that they don’t know what they’re doing) and then finding a boy trying to have sex with them; or worse, waking up and not knowing whether a boy has had sex with them.

There are boys who try to pressure the girl into sex of some description and turn unpleasant when they’re rebuffed. Then there are the remarks that boys make about the girls — including a post from one whose class took it in turns as they waited for lunch to grade passing girls and who now feels sorry for ‘objectifying women’.

It’s followed by the assurance that ‘all contributions will be anonymous and all contributions will be posted’. So, no accountability, no opportunity for the alleged perpetrators to put their side: just a safe online space for girls to sound off, on their own terms. Naturally this educational Trip-Advisor hasn’t gone down well with the schools. And it’s resented by boys, who don’t care to be stigmatised as predators.

The upshot is clear in my daughter’s case.

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