A new survey by Girlguiding- their Girls’ Attitudes Survey– finds that almost two thirds of girls (64%) have been sexually harassed at school in the last year. This is up from 59% in 2014. This shocking figure shows that schools are still not doing enough to stamp out sexual harassment and bullying.
Last year Parliament’s Women and Equality Select Committee report detailed the high levels of sexual harassment and violence girls in schools are subjected to, and laid out what schools and the Government should do to challenge it. Children in school need to be given high quality relationships and sex education, while teachers and leaders in schools have to create an atmosphere where sexual bullying and harassment isn’t tolerated and where girls feel confident to report abuse.
The survey also reveals that more than half (54%) of girls aged 11-21 have been upset and disturbed by violent or graphic images they’ve come across online and 26% of girls have accidentally stumbled across pornography while using the internet.
Responding to these findings, Rachel Krys, co-director of EVAW said:
“These findings should be a wake up call. We know the dangers of exposing children to graphic, often racist and misogynistic sexualised images. We have to give children the information they need about sex, consent and healthy relationships. Information which will help them navigate the images and messages they’re exposed to, and help them form healthy attitudes as they become adults. Otherwise we are leaving it to the pornographers and all the dangers that entails.
“We also want to see the Department for Education take its responsibilities towards girls and young people seriously. Schools need detailed guidance on what to teach children in this new era of always-available pornography. Schools need guidance in how to tackle sexual harassment and bullying, and they need to know what to do in cases of sexual violence. Without this guidance schools will continue to fail children.”