Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is illegal under federal law Title IX, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1972. However, sexual harassment is often downplayed by the general public. This form of sexual violence can include inappropriate statements, lewd gestures, leering behavior, and sexually explicit jokes, emails, or texts. People commit these acts everyday in many different public places. Sexual harassment happens in the workplace, in schools, and on the street. We know that these actions are harmful, contributing the continuum of sexual violence. These behaviors reflect a culture of disrespect and promote gender inequality.
The key link between sexual harassment and bullying seems to be homophobic language and harassment (Stein & Mennemeier, 2011).
Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves a pattern of repeated unwanted, negative actions, involving an imbalance of power or strength between the aggressor and the victim/target. According to the CDC (2011), nearly 30% of American adolescents reported at least moderate bullying experiences as the bully, the victim, or both. Research suggests that family violence is associated with bullying (CDC, 2011), and may be a risk factor for bullying perpetration or victimization. Recent findings indicate that bullying peers in school as a child is associated with increased risk for men’s perpetration of domestic violence (Falb, et. al., 2011).
A new Critical Issue Brief, jointly produced by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, provides an in-depth discussion of gender-based harassment and bullying and presents recommendations for collaboration between domestic and sexual violence advocates and school personnel:
Addressing the Gendered Dimensions of Harassment and Bullying: What domestic and sexual violence advocates need to know by Nan D. Stein & Kelly A. Mennemeier (October 2011)
For more information on these topics, see these highlighted resources available in the VAWnet library:
- Talking Points: Sexual Harassment by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape & the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (2011)
- Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School by Catherine Hill and Holly Kearl for the American Association of University Women (November 2011)
- End Street Harassment by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
- Hollaback! Legal Analysis by Hollaback! (2011)
- Understanding Bullying by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2011)
- School Bullying & Homophobic Harassment by TrueChild (2011)
- Bullying Among Middle School and High School Student – Massachusetts, 2009 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (April 2011)
- School Bullying Perpetration and Other Childhood Risk Factors as Predictors of Adult Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration by Kathryn L. Falb, Heather L. McCauley, Michele R. Decker, Jhumka Gupta, Anita Raj, & Jay G. Silverman for the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (June 2011)
- Children Who Bully by StopBullying.gov
- Measuring Bullying Victimization, Perpetration, and Bystander Experiences: A Compendium of Assessment Tools by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2011)
Check out Hollaback!, Stop Street Harassment, StopBullying.gov, and Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence for tips, tools, and resources on addressing and preventing sexual harassment and bullying in your community.
NEW SPECIAL COLLECTION
Sexual Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, or Queer (LGBTIQ) Communities (October 2011) illustrates the LGBTIQ communities’ experiences with sexual violence within the US. Resources especially relevant to these individuals, as well as straight allies and professionals, address the issue of sexual violence in LGBTIQ communities, relationships, and the impact on society.
NEW APPLIED RESEARCH PAPERS
New language, old problem: Sex trafficking of American Indian women and children by Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce and Suzanne Koepplinger (October 2011)
This Applied Research paper summarizes findings of existing research and other documents on sex trafficking of Native women and girls in the U.S. and Canada and the legal issues related to their protection.
Changing Perceptions of Sexual Violence Over Time by Sarah McMahon in consultation with Karen Baker (October 2011)
The author reviews available research on perceptions held by the general public about sexual violence and how they have changed over time. She also makes recommendations for future practice, which include discussing the root causes of sexual violence and addressing subtle victim blaming.
TA QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH
December 2011: Are youth-led programs a promising approach in sexual violence prevention?
In a recent assessment conducted by the NSVRC (to be published January 2012), it was found that 42% of innovative sexual violence prevention programs that participated in the study are doing youth leadership and mobilization.
Check out this month’s question to learn about the benefits of implementing peer education models to prevent sexual violence.
November 2011: How do I know that the statistics I’m using are credible?
Not all research is created equal – either in its scientific quality or its practical value. There are several questions to consider when deciding whether or not to read a research report, and if we do choose to read it, whether or not to trust what we read.” (Beeman, 2002)
Check out the November question to share examples of ways that you have successfully used data in your work.
View all recent additions to the VAWnet library. Highlights include…
Twitter Town Hall Summary: #reachyouth by VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (October 19, 2011)
Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Other Family Violence by Sherry Hamby, David Finkelhor, Heather Turner, and Richard Ormrod of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (October 2011)
Creating Change: For people working to prevent family violence in New Zealand by the Campaign for Action on Family Violence of the Family and Community Services of the Ministry of Social Development (March 2011)
Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2010 by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) (2011)
Where Our Boys At? Involving Young Men as Allies to End Violence against Girls by Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team and Mariame Kaba (2011)
Housing and Sexual Violence Research Brief by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (2011)
From the Front of the Room: An Advocates Guide to Help Prepare Survivors for Public Speaking by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) (September 2011)