Sexual Harassment Plagues Our Schools: Poll
More than half of girls report unwanted advances
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2011 7:06 PM CST
More than half of US middle and high school girls complain of sexual harassment.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Nearly half of middle and high school students suffer from sexual harassment, and almost 90% of victims admit to negative effects like stomach aches, poor sleep, and absenteeism, a new survey says. But girls take the brunt of it, with 56% reporting harassment as compared to 40% of boys. In all, 48% of US students complained of unwanted sexual advances. “It’s pervasive, and almost a normal part of the school day,” one study author tells the New York Times.

The most common form of harassment is sexual jokes, gestures, or comments, endured by 46% of girls and 22% of boys. Some 13% of girls and 3% of boys suffered unwelcome touches; 3.5% of girls were forced to do something sexual. For boys, being called gay in a derogatory way had the "worst effect" on them; girls cited jokes, gestures, and comments. Girls with developed bodies are the most targeted, the survey says, followed by girls who were considered unattractive, pretty girls, and feminine boys. Authors of the survey say they want schools to talk about sexual harassment, because ones that do have been able to reduce it.