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Safety In Schools: $exual Violence In Middle Schools Happens in Teachers’ Presence

By: Krystle Crossman

School is supposed to be a safe place for our children but unfortunately a lot of teachers are not stopping the large amount of s*xual violence that is occurring right underneath their noses.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted a study on 1,391 middle school students in the Midwest. They found that 25 percent of the male students and 27 percent of the female students in grades 5 through 8 reported experiencing some kind of s*xual violence at school. The most common types of s*xual violence reported by the students are:

– S*xual jokes
– Homophobic s*xual violence
– Verbal s*xual violence
– Rumor spreading

Many of the students that committed these acts either passed it off as “joking” or said that what they did wasn’t that bad and the victim shouldn’t have been so sensitive. Dr. Dorothy Espelage who is a co-author of the study says that teachers need to be more involved when they see things like this happening on school grounds. She also says that everyone needs to be more involved with early education about what s*xual violence is and why it can be so harmful to others. She finds that teenagers are quick to dismiss any s*xual violence or harassment because no one has really taught them what it truly is and why it is the wrong thing to do.

S*xual violence and bullying are different and teachers need to be educated on the difference. Many schools have adopted anti-bullying policies but there are very few in place for s*xual harassment cases. Espelage says that children need to learn early on why it is wrong to use homophobic language and s*xually harassing language so that incidents can be prevented down the line.

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