Not all sexual harassment occurs in the school hallways. Survey shows that children feel sexually harassed by text, email, Facebook, or other electronic means as well.
Sexual harassment is part of everyday life in middle and high schools, affecting nearly half of all students, according to a sobering report released by the American Association of University Women.
But, the Office for Civil Rights under the Department of Education says that even more students are sexually harassed. They report that four out of five (80%) students become victims of sexual harassment. Please click here for more information about sexual harassment at school.
The report by the American Association of University Women, called Crossing the Line, that was released earlier this week, says that of those students surveyed, 48 percent had experienced some form of sexual harassment at school last year, and 87 percent said it had a negative effect on them.
But not all sexual harassment occurs in the school hallways. The survey shows that children feel sexually harassed by text, email, Facebook, or other electronic means affected 30 percent of students.
The effect on victims can be devastating in the short-term, resulting in missed school and impaired social life. In the long-term, some never recover from inappropriate behavior at an impressionable age. For the perpetrator, a life-changing stigma may be attached to the student.
With the permission and cooperation of the parents, your charges must be made aware of what proper behavior is expected. Further, they must know how and to whom to report inappropriate acts or comments (which we will go in detail about tomorrow).
Regardless of being a male or female, each child has the right to know about sexual harassment:
- Define the term ‘sexual harassment’ to children. The Department of Education gives a perfect definition for sexual harassment. They define sexual harassment as any unwanted behavior in sexual nature. That includes, but is not limited to, sexual gestures, name-calling, jokes, talk of sexual acts in the presence of other people, unwanted or inappropriate touches on a person’s sensitive and private areas, spreading rumors that are sexual in nature, and even picture drawing and graffiti.
- Explain that sexual harassment is never an act of love. It’s the same thing as bullies do in school; the perpetrator puts himself above his victim and makes advances to manipulate his victim.
- Sexual harassment is both an illegal and immoral act. Teach children not to allow people to do it to them and immediately tell school authorities (or you or their parents) of the perpetrators. Likewise, parents should educate kids to avoid harassing others.
- Sexual harassment knows no sex or age. Kids should know that these acts can be done by young or old people, male or female. It can be done by persons on the opposite sex, and even on persons of the same sex.