UK: Girls as young as 11 are being groped, sneered at and insulted with sexual slurs such as “slag” and “slut” by male pupils in school, in what’s described as a daily occurrence in a new report.
According to research by the Women and Equalities Committee, those girls who dared to complain about the harassment were told “boys will be boys” or that the comments were merely a joke. Sexist remarks and sexual harassment, unlike homophobia and racism, are currently rarely recorded by teachers and school officials.
“Our inquiry has revealed a concerning picture,” said committee chair and Tory backbencher Maria Miller. “We have heard girls talk about sexual bullying and abuse as an expected part of their everyday life; with teachers accepting sexual harassment as 'just banter'; and parents struggling to know how they can best support their children.
“It is difficult to explain why any school would allow girls to be subjected to sexual harassment and violent behavior that has been outlawed in the adult workplace. The evidence shows it is undermining the confidence of young women.”
The report also states that the “slapping of bums and flicking [lifting up] of skirts” was common and that a teacher recounted they had “many young girls sobbing and humiliated in my office” due to pictures of their naked or partially naked bodies being shared online by the original receiver.
How long would it take, and how difficult would it be to tell young girls that if they text a nude or partially nude picture of themselves to someone, it is almost always going to be shared around the whole school and beyond? Grade 5 or 6 teachers could do it in 5 minutes. For that matter, why doesn't the government make a 30 second or 1 minute video to play during TV shows or on web sites that are popular with girls just about to enter puberty. Sexting is just that easy to stop if someone will make the little bit of effort required.
Pornography and the culture of rape
The easy access to online pornography was blamed for the sexist and offensive behavior of young men, who without school guidance on the topic end up with unrealistic views on sex and relationships.
“We know that significant numbers of young people access pornography online and it becomes part of the way they learn about sex and relationships, but for me, one of the most important things is that if we are starting to talk to young people about pornography, we include their parents in that as well,” Miller added.
I've been writing this for a couple years now that the easy availability of pornography is creating the foundation of the culture of rape in teens and young adults. Until we address the pornography problem, this disturbing attitude of boys toward girls will just keep getting worse and the culture of rape will continue to thrive.
No time for basic sex/social education
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said the problem had been “swept under the carpet” for years and that the findings were “sadly - not new.”
But teachers hit back, arguing that while sex and relationships education was vital, it was the government’s fault that there’s been an increase in sexual harassment towards girls inside the classroom.
“Government education policies hinder schools' ability to tackle sexual harassment and sexual bullying effectively by leaving no time for pastoral care or personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) within the curriculum or school day,” said National Union of Teachers general secretary Kevin Courtney.
"Support and guidance from the Department for Education about how to best mitigate the effects of sexual harassment and sexual violence is urgently required."