by Christina Leonard
Interactions between boys and girls are changing! Boys teasing girls has always been a common occurrence and sometimes it actually means the boy has a crush on that girl. I read an article recently that reported that this teasing has become more insulting and that sometimes the insults lead up to requests for sex.
The comments being made are becoming more and more violent and sexually related. Sexually derogatory names have are being thrown casually with no thought of the effects that they will have on the victim. Many boys AND girls are guilty of this. Most teens find this insults easy to hurl, but when YOU'RE the one on the receiving-end your feelings can be really hurt. Some victims even start to change how they feel about themselves.
Many of the girls interviewed talked about the difficulty in maintaining a male-to-female friendship without sex working its way in somewhere. Many girls reported that others excluded them from certain social situations because they had not had sex yet. Many of the girls spoke of being involved in sexual activity even though they DID NOT feel ready for it!! This is all very disturbing findings.
So what can we do to change the situation?
First of all, these behaviors NEED to be recognized as sexual harassment. You are in charge of your body at ALL times. The issue of sexual harassment in schools is becoming widely recognized and actions are being taken to help students. A Supreme Court ruling stated that schools can be held liable for failing to take complaints of sexual harassment or discrimination seriously. This is a step in the right direction.
What can YOU do to help prevent and end sexual harassment in your school?
As a student you can make a difference. If you witness a student being sexually harassed, talk to them and encourage them to report it. Also, keep in mind that sexual harassment is not only physical; it is also verbal, and harassment of ANY kind is unacceptable.
Many students believe that being educated about sex at an earlier age is one way to cut down on sexual harassment. Often students have to handle sexual teasing before they know about sex. Students are saying that knowledge would help them to handle and perhaps even prevent some harassment.