published Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Survey: Sexual harassment pervasive in grades 7-12

NEW YORK — It can be a malicious rumor whispered in the hallway, a lewd photo arriving by cell phone, hands groping where they shouldn’t. Added up, it’s an epidemic — student-on-student sexual harassment that is pervasive in America’s middle schools and high schools.

During the 2010-11 school year, 48 percent of students in grades 7-12 experienced some form of sexual harassment in person or electronically via texting, email and social media, according to a major national survey being released Monday by the American Association of University Women.

The harassers often thought they were being funny, but the consequences for their targets can be wrenching, according to the survey. Nearly a third of the victims said the harassment made them feel sick to their stomach, affected their study habits or fueled reluctance to go to school at all.

“It’s reached a level where it’s almost a normal part of the school day,” said one of the report’s co-authors, AAUW director of research Catherine Hill. “It’s somewhat of a vicious cycle. The kids who are harassers often have been harassed themselves.”

The survey, conducted in May and June, asked 1,002 girls and 963 boys from public and private schools nationwide whether they had experienced any of various forms of sexual harassment. These included having someone make unwelcome sexual comments about them, being called gay or lesbian in a negative way, being touched in an unwelcome sexual way, being shown sexual pictures they didn’t want to see, and being the subject of unwelcome sexual rumors.

The survey quoted one ninth-grade girl as saying she was called a whore “because I have many friends that are boys.” A 12th-grade boy said schoolmates circulated an image showing his face attached to an animal having sex.

In all, 56 percent of the girls and 40 percent of the boys said they had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment during the school year.

After being harassed, half of the targeted students did nothing about it. Of the rest, some talked to parents or friends, but only 9 percent reported the incident to a teacher, guidance counselor or other adult at school, according to the survey.

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memphisexile said...

File this one under "duh". I think anyone who has ever attended high school or middle school would be fully aware of this.

November 6, 2011 at 8:32 p.m.
smadave said...

I agree...I mean this has been going on since the beginning of time. Its called adolescence.

November 7, 2011 at 6:41 a.m.
RamiNYC said...

This has been going on a long time in NYC Schools. It is taken so lightly that school officials don't even face dismissal or harsh reprimand after failing to contact the police when they encounter sexual harassment. One example is current NYC Assistant Principle Alberto M. Garcia -- In 2005 an 11-year-old girl told Garcia she had been sexually abused by a 14-year-old boy. The girl's mother contacted The Daily News out of desperation, but nothing was done. Garcia lost his post at that school due to an unrelated gun incident. He is now employed at Progress High School for Professional Careers in Brooklyn NY. Garcia failed to contact the police so that his reputation as principal of the school would not suffer, with little or no care for the safety and well being of the students. This man is currently paid a 6 figure salary, despite the fact that he has appeared in around 10 or so stories in the New York Daily News, all of which are negative. We encourage this sort of behavior, and the professionals responsible for our children are anything but professional.

November 7, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.
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