The problem of sexual harassment in school and the education sector, in general, is very acute. Although some may say that bullying is one of the major disruptors of mental wellbeing in educational institutions, other types of harassment shouldn’t be denied.
Does Sexual Harassment Exist in the Education Sector?
Despite sexual harassment laws, such a type of violence still takes place. Many people may think that sexual harassment is more widespread in the workplace. Unfortunately, schools and universities aren’t free of it, as well.
According to a report carried out by AAUW – American Association of University Women, two-thirds of college students experience sexual harassment. The figure for schools is almost the same. Almost 50% of students in grades 7-12 claim to experience sexual intimidation. This happens to both men and women. However, females face the problem more often.
The figures may not be realistic. Many students are afraid to report or even admit that they have been sexually intimidated. What is more, many institutions fail to provide an appropriate environment for females to report incidents.
The Most Common Types of Sexual Harassment in the Education Setting
Sexual harassment in middle and high school, as well as in a college and university, includes many forms, from sexual favoritism to far more drastic ones like sexual assault. Sometimes, the latter happens when a woman may be rendered unconscious or drugged.
Sexual harassment in school statistics shows that rape is common on campuses. At the same time, almost 90% of colleges reported zero incidents, as stated by AAUW. As for the schools, almost 80% of schools with grades 7-12 claimed to have zero cases.
Sexual harassment in educational institutions isn’t limited to students only. Teachers may become victims of their colleagues. They can experience all the same forms of sexual intimidation. It’s vital to promote a victim-friendly environment for adults to report about sexual harassment at workplace. Moreover, an institution needs to turn to a lawyer with the appropriate specialization (for example, Moshes law firm).
Why Are Victims Scared to Share
Unfortunately, there are many incidents of sexual harassment in educational institutions. So, why does sexual harassment at school often go unreported?
The victim usually feels invaded. He or she has an intense wound, and shame is at the core of it. Sometimes, shame is what makes victims blame themselves for the incident.
Some people downplay the incident. They make themselves believe that “it isn’t a big deal.” Some victims make excuses for abusers. They try to justify his actions or even feel sorry for him.
Feelings of Hopelessness and Helplessness
When a person doesn’t see a way out of the abusive situation, he/she gives up. The feeling of hopelessness and helplessness absorbs them. Thus, they don’t try to escape or stop sexual abuse.
Fear of the Consequences
Many victims are seriously afraid of repercussions. They fear losing a job, not being promoted, or not being able to find a new job. Moreover, some think that people won’t believe them.
A History of Being Sexually Violated
People who have already experienced sexual harassment before are likely to keep quiet. There can be multiple reasons for that to happen. For example, nobody believed them when they had reported the incident before.
Women with low self-esteem usually downplay the incident. They don’t value their body or integrity; therefore, don’t treat the incident seriously.
How Can Sex Education Help to Prevent Harassment and Make Victims Talk
Sexual harassment examples show that people are afraid to report. To address both personal and non-personal reasons, society has to promote the acuteness of the topic.
The first and foremost step is to start talking. Parents have to provide sexual education for their children. The same applies to schools. This will help kids to learn about such an intimate topic as sex. In fact, according to the data revealed by the Making Caring Common Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education, almost more than 65% of the 18-25-year-olds claim that they would like to receive more information about some emotional aspects of romantic relationships from parents or at school.
Another problem is that sometimes children may not know that they are sexually harassing another person. This also happens due to a lack of sex education. The research from Harvard Graduate School of Education shows that 76% of respondents had never talked with their parents about how to avoid sexually harassing others. Do you find sexual harassment education in schools an essential topic to discuss?