The Centre for Gender Equal Media (GEM) submitted evidence today to the Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry into sexual violence and sexual harassment in schools. Our submission focused on the importance of examining sexual harassment and violence in schools in the context of a media that discriminates against women and girls. We outlined how the pervasiveness of sexualised sexism (‘sexualisation’), image-based sexual abuse (‘revenge porn’) and sexist online harassment creates the conditions within which harassment, violence and abuse thrive in schools.
GEM is focused on making connections between and across forms of media, and our submission to the committee highlighted these. There is a growing body of evidence about sexual violence and sexual harassment in schools showing a) that there are high levels of these forms of abuse in schools and b) this is a gendered issue, as the vast majority of those committing these behaviours are men and boys (both teachers and students) and the vast majority of those experiencing them are women and girls (both teachers and students).
This firmly locates the existence of sexual violence and harassment in schools on the continuum of violence against women and girls (VAWG), highlighting the need for a response that recognises the role of gender inequality in the perpetuation of the attitudes and behaviours underpinning sexual violence. As such, GEM recommends that policy and interventions should therefore be framed within the Home Office-led Violence Against Women and Girls strategy at national level, and within similar strategies at local level.
Our full submission, including our recommendations, will be made available online when published by the committee.