LONDON – Sexual harassment and sexual abuse online has become so rampant in the lives of young people in Britain that it has indeed become normalized, students told a government journal published on Thursday, another disturbing sign of a problem that threatens them in schools, online and in their daily lives.
About 90 percent of girls from 32 schools and colleges surveyed by education regulators said sexist slurs and incidents where they were sent explicit material had happened at least “sometimes”, and students reported said sexual health and relationship education was inadequate.
The review came after a campaign by the Everyone’s Invited online platform earlier this year, in which thousands of young women and girls in Britain shared harrowing accounts of sexual violence, sexism and misogyny that ‘they lived as students.
Such behavior was so common, some students told government inspectors, that they saw no point in reporting it, and fear of being isolated by their peers outweighed the attempt to stop the behavior. .
Many girls said they were repeatedly asked to share explicit photos of themselves, and the boys talked about the pictures they received from the girls and shared them in online discussion groups with their friends, like a “collector’s game”.
The review of 900 students found that harmful sexual behavior often occurred in parks or parties, where drugs and alcohol were often involved.
Relationships and sexual health education in schools was also “too little, too late,” the students said, and noted that it did not equip them with the skills needed for difficult situations in their lives. Some students said they feared reporting unwanted bullying to adults or school staff because they feared being ostracized by their peers or blamed for the behavior.
The Education Department, which commissioned the review in March, said it would devote more resources to training school and college staff to better recognize sexual harassment and abuse, as well as to educate students on issues related to consent, pornography and health relationships.
Schools and college officials should assume there is sexual harassment, the review concluded, and recommended a range of measures, including a “carefully sequenced” relationship and sexual health program that included a discussion on topics such as sexual harassment, sexual violence and consent.
This finding was a “positive step forward in eradicating the culture of rape,” Everyone’s Invited said in a statement. But many of the points made in the report are long-standing issues, the group added.
“We have had reports in the past and nothing has happened,” the statement said. “What’s different now?” “