Findings from Hostile Hallways
In 1994, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Survey on Sexual Harassment in America’s Schools was released. This survey of over 1,600 students in the 8th through 11th grades attempted to determine the extent of sexual harassment in public schools across the country. Conducted by Louis Harris and Associates, the findings were accurate to plus or minus 4%.
In 2000, Harris revisited the research. For this study, Harris interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,064 public school students in 8th through 11th grades. The findings were released in 2001 and are as follows.
Sexual harassment is widespread in school life.
• Eight in 10 students (81%) experience some form of sexual harassment during their school lives.
• six in 10 (59 %) often or occasionally
• one-quarter (27 %) often
These levels have not changed since 1993
• Girls are more likely than boys to experience sexual harassment.
• Ever (83 % vs. 79 %)
• often (30 % vs. 24 %)
• Boys today are more likely than those in 1993 to experience sexual harassment.
• Often or occasionally (56 % vs. 49 %)
• Often (24 % vs. 18 %)
• Three-quarters of students (76 %) experience nonphysical sexual harassment at some point in their school lives, more than half (54 %) often or occasionally.
• Six in 10 students (58 %) experience physical sexual harassment at some point in their school lives, one-third (32 %) often or occasionally.
• One-third (32 %) of students are afraid of being sexually harassed. Girls are more than twice as likely as boys to feel this way (44 % vs. 20 %).
School sexual harassment has a negative impact on students’ emotional and educational lives.
• Nearly half (47 %) of all students who experience sexual harassment feel very or somewhat upset right afterward.
• Students who experience physical harassment are more likely than those who experience non-physical harassment to feel very or somewhat upset (56 % vs. 26 %).
• Students who experience sexual harassment are most likely to react by:
• Avoiding the person who bothered or harassed them (40 %)
• Talking less in class (24 %)
• Not wanting to go to school (22 %)
• Changing their seat in class to get farther away from someone (21 %)
• Finding it hard to pay attention in school (20 %)
The most upsetting examples of sexual harassment in school life involve speech as well as actions.
• Students are most likely to be very upset if someone did the following:
• Spread sexual rumors about them (75 %)
• Pulled off or down their clothing (74 %)
• Said they were gay or lesbian (73 %)
• Forced them to do something sexual other than kissing (72 %)
• Spied on them as they dressed or showered (69%)\
• Wrote sexual messages or graffiti about them on bathroom walls, in locker rooms, etc. (63%)