Young people share their perspectives of sexual harassment online

26 Apr 2016 UK SIC

Sexual harassment in schools inquiry launched, as new research shows young people’s experiences both online and offline. 

The Women and Equalities Committee has launched the first parliamentary inquiry into the scale and impact of sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools. It comes as new research shows how young people are being affected by this problem, and how this behaviour permeates both online and offline experiences.

The report by Fixers collated the views of over 300 young people aged 16-25 years.

Young people explain their online experiences:

“One of my friends, when she was 16, she sent a picture to a guy and he then sent it to everyone in the school. She was bullied for ages. It got so bad she even contemplated suicide.” Keira, 25.

“Some people make mistakes and sleep around. They get called slags and sluts. They pay for it online. Sometimes for the rest of their life. One person finds out and they spread it. People need to be careful about what they do. Everything crosses from the real world onto online stuff. Bullying especially.” Callum, 16.

“There were ‘dirt dishers’ in my school. An anonymous person who would use social media to spread malicious lies about pupils. It was very difficult to identify who was doing it but people would take time off school because of the lies about them online.” Samantha, 16.

“Everything you see on social media is reinforcing the worst things about lad culture. Pictures of women like porn stars with slogans like ‘what every lad wants his girl to look like’. So people do that, act like that. My friend wanted his girlfriend to dress like a porn star and do what a porn star would do. Porn is so easily accessible. You see guys watching it in the classroom on their phones; on the bus.” Tom, 17.

“Kids get curious, and there is no warning in porn videos online that this is not real. I personally went searching and looking on the internet for sexually explicit stuff at school as any kid did.” Stacey, 22.

“In year eight I went round to my friend’s house. At this stage I had not even had my first kiss yet. Things ended up happening on a web cam, which were recorded, and got into school. I felt disgusted with myself.” Grace, 22.

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