Effects of Sexual Harassment in Schools

Sexual harassment is a highly prevalent form of bullying especially in high schools. Growing up in within the context of an Indian education system, during my teen years, I remember the emphasis highly being placed on multiple things:- behavior, discipline, humility, initiating the “appropriately desirable women” identity, and of course GRADES. If I was able to get it together to make sure these ducks are in a row, then I would be deemed a successful woman by the society I belonged to. While many of these qualities could become rather important in your development as a human being, at that time, as a teen, my priorities were completely different– and to deem my priorities as being skewed or invalid was just not working for me. Moral of the story– I was a “rebel” as a result of my age group! WHAM!

 

Now I say all this to bring up an important discussion- TABOO topics. I remember my high school as being the best time of my life, however, there were many confusing elements for both the girls and boys alike. We were naturalized into understanding boys were to bully/ harass girls and girls were to think it as cute or internalize the negative comments. And girls who were harassers were “Tomboys”– What a pathetic and problematic power struggle!! Now even if jokes have evolved, I am sure the reality of this norm has not changed too much in the past years.

 

Based on a study that was conducted by AAUW (American Association of University Women), they published these results as the salient effects of sexual harassment in schools.  Although this study was performed in K-12 schools in America, the effects of harassment in schools can be applied across the table.

School harassment- effects

 

Going down the list, I remember feeling most if not all of these emotions when I was harassed. And in my case, to counter the effects on my own psyche, I became a bully in turn for parts of my high school years– my survival mode. Do you relate to these reactions? How did/do you counter them? What can we do about it?



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