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ERIC Number: ED525786
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School. Executive Summary
American Association of University Women
Sexual harassment has long been an unfortunate part of the climate in middle and high schools in the United States. Often considered a kind of bullying, sexual harassment by definition involves sex and gender and therefore warrants separate attention. The legal definition of sexual harassment also differentiates it from bullying. Based on a nationally representative survey of 1,965 students in grades 7-12 conducted in May and June 2011, "Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School" provides fresh evidence about students' experiences with sexual harassment, including being harassed, harassing someone else, or witnessing harassment. The survey asked students to share their reactions to their experience with sexual harassment and its impact on them. It also asked them about their ideas for how schools can respond to and prevent sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is part of everyday life in middle and high schools. Nearly half (48 percent) of the students surveyed experienced some form of sexual harassment in the 2010-11 school year, and the majority of those students (87 percent) said it had a negative effect on them. Verbal harassment (unwelcome sexual comments, jokes, or gestures) made up the bulk of the incidents, but physical harassment was far too common. The prevalence of sexual harassment in grades 7-12 comes as a surprise to many, in part because it is rarely reported. Girls were more likely than boys to say that they had been negatively affected by sexual harassment--a finding that confirms previous research by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) (2001) and others. Gender harassment is a significant part of the sexual-harassment problem in schools. Harassers come in all shapes and sizes, but this survey revealed overarching patterns. Nearly all the behavior documented in the survey was peer-to-peer sexual harassment. Many of the students who admitted to sexually harassing others didn't think of it as a big deal (44 percent), and many were trying to be funny (39 percent). Students offered ideas for reducing sexual harassment in their school, including designating a person they can talk to (39 percent), providing online resources (22 percent), and holding in-class discussions (31 percent). This report concludes with a discussion of promising practices that are making a difference in schools, along with recommendations for how administrators, educators, parents and other concerned adults, students, and community groups can contribute to efforts to make middle and high schools free from sexual harassment. This report concludes with a discussion of promising practices that are making a difference in schools, along with recommendations for how administrators, educators, parents and other concerned adults, students, and community groups can contribute to efforts to make middle and high schools free from sexual harassment. (Contains 3 footnotes.) [For the full report, "Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School," see ED525785.]
American Association of University Women. 1111 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-326-2289; Tel: 202-728-7602; Fax: 202-463-7169; e-mail: foundation@aauw.org; Web site: http://www.aauw.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 10; Grade 11; Grade 12; Grade 7; Grade 8; Grade 9; High Schools; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Association of University Women