By Inga Schowengerdt
Has your child ever been sexually harassed? Would you know it if they were? Whatever your answers to these questions are, you might want to consider new research revealing that sexual harassment among teens is shockingly common, strikingly underreported, and that what we don’t know as adults is hurting our kids.
"Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School," is a new report by the American Association of University Women. The report has the most comprehensive research on sexual harassment among students in Grades 7-12 and sheds light on the ways in which sexual harassment has become a normal part of teen life. The research reveals that nearly half of all students in those grades were sexually harassed last year and only about one-fifth of these teens told their parents.
Additionally, victimized teens report being distracted in school, feeling physically sick and not wanting to go to school, while many perpetrators of harassment are themselves former victims. These data serve as an unsettling call to action for anyone who cares about the well-being of today’s young people, because what we do or don’t do about sexual harassment among teens will determine whether patterns of victimization and perpetration persist and evolve as teens become adults.