The Moment When Rowan Blanchard Was Sexually Harassed — at 12 Years Old

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Rowan Blanchard may only be 14 years old, but she’s making moves in society bigger than most adults. The Girl Meets World star is an outspoken feminist who constantly stands up for women’s rights and talks about real issues such as sexuality and equality. Because she’s so young, some people question why she’s so involved and outspoken, but the answer is now clear.

In an interview with Interview Magazine, the Disney Channel star reveals that she first decided to use her platform to speak about problems millions of people are afraid to discuss after a scary incident happened to her.

“I remember I was at a movie with my friend, and we were both in skirts — this was two and a half or three years ago — we were waiting outside the movies for my dad to pick us up, and this grown man came over and was like, ‘You guys need a ride anywhere?’ I was 12 years old and my friend was 15. And I just remember sitting there feeling my heart sink into my stomach. It was such a surreal moment. Because I always see that happening in front of me; I always see girls getting catcalled. But up until that point, I hadn’t experienced it. And it was like I was out of body for a second. I had seen that in movies, on TV, on the news. But when it happens to you, it’s like, ‘Oh, crap, this is real; people look at me this way. And people look at other girls this way,'” she said.

After Rowan had her first taste of sexual harassment, she felt ashamed.

“I went home that night and didn’t tell anybody. I didn’t tell my parents because I was ashamed that it was what I was wearing. I was like, ‘Gosh, I shouldn’t wear a skirt next time. What am I doing?'”

But eventually, the actress realized that while her thought process was the same as many young girls’, she had no reason to be embarrassed; it was time to do something.

“When you’re watching your favorite TV show, you see a joke that maybe would have gone over your head a month ago. You can’t escape it,” she continued. “There’s really nothing you can do except endure it and try and speak out about it. So that’s what I tried to do. Because it started consuming me. And, when girls would come up to me and be like, ‘I watch your show,’ I would think, ‘Has this ever happened to this girl? Of course it’s happened to this girl, because it happens every day.’ And it just started overwhelming me. So I started putting things on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, because I realize that I have a following, and most of the people who watch our show, I would say, are girls. And I didn’t want them ever going through that. I just started doing it because I couldn’t bear it anymore.”

Thank you, Rowan, for truly making a difference in the world.

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