ERIC Number: EJ949821
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov-9
Reference Count: 0
Many Teenagers Can't Distinguish Harassment Lines, Research Shows
Sparks, Sarah D.
Education Week, v31 n11 p1, 16-17 Nov 2011
A national survey finds that, when it comes to sexual harassment in school, many students do not know where to draw the line. Based on the first nationally representative survey in a decade of students in grades 7-12, the study conducted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), found that 48 percent of nearly 2,000 students surveyed had experienced verbal, physical, or online sexual harassment at school during the 2010-11 school year. The students' reports reveal constantly shifting school environments--mostly unseen by the adults on campus--in which students use everything from gossip and teasing to groping or more severe physical attacks to enforce gender stereotypes, bully, and retaliate. Researchers found that while students generally do not see themselves as sexual harassers, 14 percent of girls and 18 percent of boys reported that they had harassed another student, either in person, online, or both. The report says that 44 percent of those who sexually harassed another student considered it "no big deal," and that another 39 percent said they were trying to be funny. What makes matters worse, the researchers noted, is that prevention programs often do not address the complexities of the problem. Many school-based anti-harassment programs focus on teaching students to develop healthy romantic relationships, but the AAUW study suggests that approach may miss the point: Only 3 percent of students who had sexually harassed another student said they acted because they wanted a relationship with the victim.
Descriptors: Sexual Harassment, Sex Stereotypes, Elementary Secondary Education, High School Students, Middle School Students, Educational Environment, Interpersonal Relationship, National Surveys, Computer Mediated Communication, Bullying, Prevention
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A