A new survey of almost 2,000 middle and high school students found that “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.” And that’s just one 9-month school year. It isn’t unreasonable to assume that over a period of 6 or 7 years (middle school and high school) virtually all of our teens experience sexual harassment in some form. What does this harassment look like? It could be anything from physical groping, to crude comments, to being confronted with unwanted sexual images, to being the subject of unwelcome sexual rumors.
The article discussing the research also included the report’s recommendation that “all schools should create a sexual-harassment policy and make sure it is publicized and enforced. It said schools must ensure that students are educated about what their rights are…with special attention paid to encouraging girls to respond assertively to harassment since they are targeted more often than boys.” The students themselves wished that there were a way to anonymously report incidents of sexual harassment. A proactive step that you as a parent could take, might be to call your student’s school to see if any policies or procedures are in place to handle incidents of sexual harassment…and to find out if the students are both educated about their rights, and informed about how to report such incidents.