Special Resource Material Developed by the Center

Title: Sexual Harassment by Peers in Schools (Information Resource)

Description: A great deal has been written about sexual harassment and other forms of bullying (see the sample of citations at the end of this resource). Sexual harassment and bullying are part of what shapes a negative institutional climate and negative outcomes. At too many schools, such acts begin as early as elementary school, increase in frequency as students enter puberty, and contribute to creating a hostile environment not only for the victims but for most students and staff.

Gender, appearance, and peer associations often play a significant role. For example, female students are usually the target of sexual jokes, comments, gestures, or looks, while male students are more likely to experience homophobic slurs (Hill & Silva, 2005). At the same time, the intersection of several factors (e.g., race, sexuality, nationality, immigrant status, religion) may influence and compound the tendency to victimize. And, as social and political theories recognize, a school’s actions often reflect institutionalized biases that privilege some and put others at risk (DeFrancisco et al., 2013; Elliot, 2014). However, almost at any time and any place, anyone can be a direct target or an indirect victim. And there is no profile that fits all perpetrators.

Access at:   http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/harass.pdf