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giovedì 15 settembre 2016

Porn-fuelled rise in sexual harassment

Maria Miller chairs the Women and Equalities Committee

A report found girls are regularly victims of sexual abuse and violence in Britain’s schools The studie says sexual harassment has become "a normal part of school life"



A pornography-fuelled “lad culture” is behind a shocking rise in sexual harassment against schoolgirls, MPs said.
A report found girls are regularly victims of sexual abuse and violence in Britain’s schools.
The study by the Women and Equalities Committee heard that sexual harassment has become “a normal part of school life” with sexting and online abuse commonplace.
The MPs also say the problem is been made worse by a generation of boys with ready access to hard-core pornography.
The committee’s report found almost a third (29%) of 16 to 18-year-old girls have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school, while nearly three-quarters (71%) of all 16-18 year old boys and girls say they hear terms such as “slut” or “slag” used towards girls at schools on a regular basis.
And 59% of girls and young women aged 13-21 said they had faced some form of sexual harassment at school or college in the past year.
The report noted statistics showing that 5,500 sexual offences were recorded in UK schools between 2012-15, including 600 rapes.
The MPs say the Government’s response to the growing problem has been “woefully inadequate” and there is an “alarming inconsistency” in how schools deal with sexual harassment and violence.
“Significant qualitative evidence suggests that increasing access to pornography and technological advances, including online platforms, can facilitate harassment and violence and thus exacerbate the problem,” the report says.
It adds: “Widespread access to pornography appears to be having a negative impact on children and young people’s perceptions of sex, relationships and consent.
There is evidence of a correlation between children’s regular viewing of pornography and harmful behaviours. The type of pornography many children are exposed to is often more extreme than adults realise.”
The committee heard evidence from the NASUWT union that found pupils were “filming themselves masturbating and sharing images” and there were regular incidents of “girls sending nude pictures to their boyfriends who then forward the images on to their friends.”
“Teachers, parents, young people and third sector organisations are telling us that sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools is having an impact on young people and school life.
“Consequences include: physical and emotional harm, including teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; girls feeling unable to fully participate in educational and extra-curricular opportunities; teachers spending valuable time dealing with incidents of sexual harassment and bullying; and young people developing a sense that sexual harassment and sexual violence are acceptable behaviours and learning social norms that are carried through to adult life.
“The Government and schools must make tackling sexual harassment and sexual violence an immediate policy priority,” the report says.


Getty Images

Evidence shows that the majority of perpetrators of this abuse are boys, and the majority of victims are girls. However it is essential that the negative impact on both boys and girls is recognised and addressed.
Committee chair Maria Miller MP said: “Our inquiry has revealed a concerning picture. We have heard girls talk about sexual bullying and abuse as an expected part of their everyday life; with teachers accepting sexual harassment as ‘just banter’; and parents struggling to know how they can best support their children.
“It is difficult to explain why any school would allow girls to be subjected to sexual harassment and violent behaviour that has been outlawed in the adult workplace. The evidence shows it is undermining the confidence of young women. Failing to reinforce what is acceptable behaviour could well be fuelling the ‘Lad Culture’ that the Government has already identified as a problem in colleges and universities.
“Despite this, the Department for Education and OFSTED have no coherent plan to ensure schools tackle the causes and consequences of sexual harassment and sexual violence.”

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