In response to Fandango’s Who Won the Week post, I have been looking at my own newsfeeds.
No winner this week, I’m afraid, but I did come across a story I wished to share. It’s about a survey released Thursday by one of the education agencies here in the UK.
The survey was published by a body called Ofsted. UK readers will have heard of them. To overseas readers, they are the Office for Standards in Education. They’re a state body, designed to do what it says on the tin.
Their survey was in the area of sexual harassment. It was quite a small survey – about 30 (most but not all secondary) schools of 4,000 secondary schools in the UK, but especially given the subject, there is nothing to suggest it is not indicative of the wider picture. And it was interesting because it seemed to focus on the pupils’ experiences, as opposed to things like exam results. Very briefly, here is what it found:
- 88% of girls had been sent unsolicited, explicit images/videos. Put this another way, one girl claimed to be receiving up to 11 dick pics, every single night, although this is anecdotal.
Now, the media love to focus on the boy-on-girl aspect. It’s a pet hate of mine because while I have no doubt that this scenario dominates, it sweeps every other scenario under the carpet.
To give an idea of the relative numbers, 49% of boys made the same complaint. Unwanted sexual content. That’s still a huge number, so do you see why I have a problem?
- A similar number of girls, 92%, complained of name-calling, which they considered to be sexual in nature. 74% of boys said the same.
- 64% girls / 24% boys. complained of unwanted touching.
- 79/38 complained of an actual sexual assault
- 68/27 complained of being pressured into doing something they weren’t comfortable with.
- 80/55 complained of unwanted inappropriate sexual comments
- 81/53 complained about sexual rumour-mongering. To a teen, that’s a big deal.
An observation I made, too, was that while the survey centred on secondary education (12-18yo), it also covered a few primary schools. Let’s be clear, this is children under the age of twelve.
I’ll just leave it at that, to let those numbers sink in. Aren’t they scary? The actual report (below) contains even more bad news. This is the UK, a supposedly first-world country, right now. For chrissake, what kind of a world have we created for our children?
And, if you think you might be safe, because you don’t live in the UK, think again. We all have the same sexual urges, have done so forever, but now we all carry the same smartphones which have the same cameras onboard, we all access the same internet. We all, unfortunately, access the same few social media platforms. So, if you don’t think these numbers apply in your country, think again.
I said at the top that I didn’t have a winner, but actually, I do. Because this report was precipitated by a whistle-blowing web site called Everyone’s Invited, which asked students to share their experiences. The site has received over 16,000 reports, covering almost 3,000 schools. Again, mostly secondary, but some primary too. Their site has gained so much momentum that there are also reports of schools saying to pupils, if you make an allegation, we will automatically involve the police, which has the (presumably calculated) effect of dissuading young teenagers from even reporting incidents.
So this web site shone a spotlight, long before there was any activity from the government or Ofsted. And for that, Everyone’s Invited won the week.