Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Nearly half of Swedish 10-year-olds report experiencing sexual harassment

Published 6 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Sexual harassment is now an everyday occurrence in many Swedish schools.

60% of children in Swedish middle school classes have witnessed sexual harassment in the past year, according to a psychology thesis at the University of Gothenburg. At the same time, 45% of 10-year-olds say they have been victims themselves.

The thesis, written by Andrea Valik and colleagues, asked 1,000 children in grades 4, 5 and 6 about sexual harassment. There were 63 classes in 29 schools in western Sweden.

Sexual harassment can include unwanted physical touching, unwanted pictures with sexual content, or being called sexually explicit words.

17% of the respondents had sexually harassed a peer. In addition, 45% of 10-year-olds said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment themselves. 60% had also witnessed peer-to-peer sexual harassment at least once in the past year. The incidence increased with age.

“Interventions need to start early”

− We saw a large variation between school classes in the frequency of sexual harassment, with some classes having a significantly lower incidence of sexual harassment than others. It may be that there is something about the environment and culture of the classroom that affects the level of sexual harassment. This is something that needs to be investigated further, she said in a press release.

It was also found that children who are sexually harassed have higher levels of depression and anxiety than those who are not.

− That means intervention needs to start early. As early as 10 years of age or even earlier, Valik said.

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