A school is expected to be a safe and conducive learning environment for students. They go to school to study and work to have a better future.
It’s not supposed to be a place where students or children are exposed to unwelcome words, sexual acts, and lewd behavior. Unfortunately, sexual abuse and harassment are very common issues in schools.
Sexual harassment in school can look like sexual comments or jokes and bullying based on your child’s gender. It can also be in the form of sexual advances from teachers or fellow students and non-consensual sexual contact.
If your child has experienced any of the above, then it’s time to take the necessary action. But if you’re not sure of what to do, consulting sexual abuse lawyers is the next best approach.
However, we will give you advice and tips on what to do before you need to turn to sexual abuse lawyers. We’ll discuss what makes sexual harassment a crime and how to report it at school. We’ll also talk about statistics on how common it occurs in schools, what age groups are most vulnerable, and more.
Is Sexual Harassment a Crime?
The obvious answer to that question is “yes”, but what constitutes sexual harassment? Sexual harassment is defined as any form of an unwanted physical, verbal, or non-verbal sexual act.
It has the intention or effect of violating a person’s dignity, usually creating an intimidating or degrading environment.
Sexual abuse lawyers are expected to know the specific actions that count as sexual harassment. Sometimes, the smallest actions that we dismiss already count as sexual harassment. They’ve just been normalized in our culture, like pressuring kids to sit on a relative’s lap when they don’t want to.
Sexual harassment can be discriminatory and violent, resulting in the development of anxiety and shame. The victims may develop fear, anger, and reduced productivity and performance in the long run.
They may also have high absenteeism in school or work because they want to get away from their abusers.
We now have more laws protecting people from sexual harassment and abuse, but how aware are the victims out there? No matter how many laws are implemented, it’s useless if the victims are ignorant of their rights.
They might think it’s okay to let something pass just because it’s a joke or common practice. However, not every joke or custom has good intentions, and sometimes, you need to confront the offender. Thankfully, we have sexual abuse lawyers who specialize in this field to assist us when necessary.
How to Report Sexual Abuse at School ?
Sexual harassment interferes with the student’s right to receive an education. Hence, sex discrimination is prohibited by Title IX, a law that establishes civil rights in education. It addresses issues related to sex discrimination and sexual harassment.
If you need further clarification, sexual abuse lawyers are experts in the field and can ensure you’re not exaggerating. If you think your child is experiencing sexual harassment at school, you should approach them and talk to them about it. Get all the information and details that you can, like who is involved and what they are doing.
Though difficult, ask them when and where the harassment takes place so you’ll have a clear picture to work with. You should also ask your child if they already told any authority figure about it and what their response was.
That way, you’ll know what to do when you read through the school’s sexual harassment policy. Make sure to question the authority figure if they are aware of the policy and insist that it be followed.
If no action is still taken, it’s time to escalate the complaint to the principal and hand in a written report. It should include everything that has happened, even about the faculty member’s actions or lack thereof. Make sure to use Title IX and emphasize how the harassment is impeding and interfering with your child’s learning. Then, close the report by demanding prompt and corrective action.
How Common Is Sexual Harassment in Schools?
According to statistics, sexual harassment is prominent in elementary, middle, and high schools across the US. Almost half of the students in grades 7-12 experience a kind of sexual harassment. However, a significant 79% of schools with grades 7-12 don’t receive sexual harassment reports.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported well over 1,000 rape cases and 7,000 sexual assault cases. These happened in K-12 public schools and again, these incidents are generally underreported.
According to GAO, K-12 students who experience sexual harassment are more likely to develop depression. They’ll experience anxiety and participate less in class, affecting their education and future. You can say it’s a slippery slope from there, so you need to take care of the issue as soon as possible.
You also need to consider that girls aren’t the only ones who experience sexual harassment. Boys are generally taught to bottle up their feelings and man up so it’s harder for them to open up about it. However, if you notice the telltale signs of sexual abuse, you have to address them. This will mean teaching your kids to unlearn some prejudices and as a parent, that’s a small price to pay.
Children tend to be innocent victims of sexual abuse, especially because they’re often unaware of it. They usually don’t know what sexual harassment is like and no one talks about it openly in front of a child.
They’ll think it’s normal to be touched, especially by adults who their parents trust. For example, family members and teachers are people our parents might leave us with.
Keep in mind that it’s not your fault that you chose to leave your child with someone you trust. Lawyers for sexual abuse will reassure you of that and will tell you how to respond.
If it happened at school, make sure to ask your child for all the details to solidify your story and evidence. Know who was involved so you can include them in your written report to the principal.
Sexual abuse is detrimental to a child’s growth and it will impact them in the long run. Hence, they need to know early on that someone will be on their side if it happens. That way, your child will grow up understanding proper consent and how to defend themselves and others celebrities net worth.