The Telegraph reports that Dr Mary Bousted, president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said that sexual harassment has been “normalised” in adolescent culture and that schools are no longer safe for girls.
She explained that the practise of “upskirting” – where photographs are taken up girls’ skirts without their knowledge – has led to “girls wearing shorts under their skirts so that [boys] are not going to find anything”.
The advent of camera phones is behind the growth in upskirting, Dr Bousted said, as it enables teenagers to quickly take a picture and then share it among their friends, or upload it to a social media site.
“It can happen in an instant: sending it around, and then giving the name of the girl – that is the worst thing, the absolute humiliation, the embarrassment and shame. Social media just provides a new vehicle, another way that girls can be harassed.”
“Rather than the girls having to wear shorts, we need to have much better relationship and sex education, so girls learn to respect themselves and boys learn to respect girls.”
Ms Bousted said that upskirting is “part of a wider pattern of sexual harassment” in schools, adding: “There is some of it in primary school but there is more of it in secondary.”
She said that the proportion of teachers who have witnessed their female pupils being sexually harassed is “shocking”, adding that all schools should have anti-sexism policies in places.
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