n Education as Change - The voices of victims of sexual harassment

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1682-3206
  • E-ISSN: 1947-9417
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Despite legal and constitutional provisions prohibiting sexual harassment in schools, there seems to be a culture of silence and acceptance surrounding harassment. The aim of this article is to give a voice to some of the victims. A simultaneous mixed method approach was considered the most suitable to achieve the aim of this study. A self-reporting questionnaire was completed by 474 Grade 8-12 learners. The study found that verbal and non-verbal peer harassment was common in some Free State schools. It was furthermore found that boys experience more verbal, nonverbal and physical sexual harassment by their peers, than girls. The study also found that educator-to-learner sexual harassment, albeit to a lesser extent than peer harassment, is a reality in some Free State schools. Although 73,55% of victims told somebody about their abuse, they preferred not to speak to their educators. The qualitative data not only corroborated the statistical findings pertaining to the respondents' exposure to different forms of harassment, but also shed light on sexual harassment as an embodiment of hegemonic forms of masculinity, the characteristics of sexual harassment, as well as myths surrounding sexual harassment.

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