What You Should Know About Sexual Harassment:

The AAUW (American Association of University Women) produced a report in 2011 called Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School. This report discussed survey results pertaining to sexual harassment. Although there were multiple statistics, some of the most eye-opening were that “nearly 50% of seventh to twelfth graders experience sexual harassment”, and that “87% of those who experience harassment reported negative effects such as absenteeism, poor sleep, and stomachaches.” These statistics clearly demonstrate how sexual harassment is a big issue and is more common than most people think. This report also showed how much sexual harassment can affect someone, and how it is a serious issue in schools across America.

Students: What You Need to Know:

What it is Sexual Harassment? Sexual Harassment is typically defined as any type of physical or verbal gesture with a sexual nature that would  make an individual uncomfortable or fear for their safety. There are some examples of physical and verbal sexual harassment listed below:

One of the most common types of sexual harassment is verbal harassment. Verbal harassment is anything a harasser says to the victim to make them feel uncomfortable.  It can range anywhere from making comments about their body, to name calling that has a sexual nature, to making jokes that also have a sexual nature.

Another type of sexual harassment that is common is physical sexual harassment. Physical sexual harassment can include touching an individual in a sexual way. Anything from touching, fondling, stroking, squeezing and brushing up against someone, all constitute physical sexual harassment.

An Upstander’s Role in helping victims of sexual harassment:

An upstander’s role in sexual harassment situations is extremely important. They play a vital role in helping victims. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to step in and help. But, you must also take into consideration your safety in the situation. Below are some possible steps to take when attempting to help victims:

  1. Try to comfort the victim as much as possible
  2. Remove the victim and yourself away from the situation if possible.
  3. Try recommending reporting the incident. Explain to the victim that it’s okay to report it. Possibly suggest that you could go with them if they decide to report it.
  4. Let the victim know that they are not alone. Explaining to them that it’s not their fault is also important.
  5. Be sure not to pressure the victim into reporting it. While it is very beneficial to report any incidents of sexual harassment, it is also important to let the victim make their own decision.

Resources to help you :