Just how common is sexual harassment in educational settings? A survey of Califor­nia high schools found that approximately 50% of the female respondents reported experiencing sexual harassment (Roscoe et al., 1994). Another survey of over 1,000 Canadian adolescent females in grades 7 through 12 found that more than 23% had experienced at least one event of sexual harassment in the previous 6 months (Bagley et al., 1997). A review of research suggests that the incidence of sexual harassment in American high schools, especially harassment by peers, is quite high—ranging in various studies from 37% to 87% (Lichty et al., 2008; Terrance et al., 2004). Sexual harassment in high schools and colleges is receiving considerable attention from school officials fueled in part by two Supreme Court decisions that found educational institu­tions liable for negligence in dealing with sexual harassment complaints (Terrance et al., 2004; Ramson, 2006).

In surveys of college and university populations, 20-40% of undergraduate women and 30-50% of graduate women report having been the target in one or more incidents of sexual harassment in their academic settings (Birdeau et al., 2005; Bruns & Bruns, 2005; Ramson, 2006). Because most studies of college populations have included only female students, we have less information about harassment of male students. However, research has revealed that between 9% and 29% of male undergraduates report having been sexually harassed (Kalof et al., 2001; Sundt, 1994). The number of male victims of sexual harassment in academic settings may be even higher, as indicated by an Internet survey of over 2,000 college students ages 18 to 24, in which almost two thirds of both male and female respondents reported being sexually harassed on campus (American Association of University Women, 2006).

What can you do if you experience sexual harassment on campus? Some students avoid or escape the harassment by dropping a class, finding another faculty adviser, or even leaving school. However, we advise someone who feels that she or he is being harassed to report it in order to curtail these inappropriate actions and to reduce the likelihood that other students will be victimized by the same person (it is common for people who harass students to have several targets). You may wish to speak to the offending individual’s chairperson or dean. If you are not satisfied with that person’s response, contact the campus officer or department that handles matters of civil rights or affirmative action. Although you may be concerned about grade discrimination or loss of position, federal affirmative action guidelines forbid discrimination against peo­ple who, in good conscience, file legitimate claims of sexual harassment. Furthermore, a professor guilty of such action will usually be closely monitored and will be less likely to continue to harass.

Summary

Rape

■ The legal definition of rape varies from state to state, but most laws define rape as sexual intercourse that occurs under actual or threatened forcible compulsion that over­comes the earnest resistance of the victim.

■ Although evidence strongly suggests that rape is widespread, it is difficult to obtain accurate statistics on the actual num­ber of rapes and rape victims in the United States.

■ Many false beliefs about rape tend to hold the victim responsible for the crime and excuse the attacker.

■ Rape is often partly a product of socialization processes that occur in certain rape-prone societies. These processes glorify masculine violence, teach boys to be aggressive, and demean the role of women in the economic and political aspects of life.

■ Males in U. S. society often acquire callous attitudes toward women that, when combined with a belief that "might makes right," provide a cultural foundation for rape and other acts of sexual coercion.

■ Exposure to sexually violent media can contribute to more accepting attitudes toward rape, decrease one’s sensitivity to the tragedy of rape, and perhaps even increase men’s inclina­tions to be sexually aggressive toward women.

■ No single personality or behavioral pattern characterizes rapists, and a wide range of individual differences exists among rapists.

■ Incarcerated rapists have a strong proclivity toward violence. Men who embrace traditional gender roles are more likely to commit rape than are men who do not support such roles.

■ Anger toward women is a prominent attitude among some rapists. Some rapists have self-centered, or narcissistic, per­sonalities that may render them insensitive to the feelings of the people they victimize.

■ More than 50% of U. S. female rape victims reported that their first rape occurred before they were 18 years old.

■ Most rapes are acquaintance rapes, in which the perpetrator is known to the victim.

■ Sexual coercion in dating situations is prevalent. Both sexes experience sexual coercion, but women are more likely than men to be physically forced into sexual activity they do not want.

■ A variety of "date rape" drugs are widely used by unscrupu­lous individuals to facilitate sexual conquest or to incapaci­tate date partners.

■ Rape has been a strategy of war throughout history. In addition to being used as a means to humiliate and control women, wartime rape is intended to destroy the bonds of family and society.

■ Rape survivors often suffer severe emotional and physical difficulties that can lead to a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

■ Rape victims often find that supportive counseling, either individually or in groups, can help ease the trauma caused by rape.

■ Although the vast majority of rape victims are women, research indicates that as many as 3% of U. S. men have been raped.

■ Males who are sexually assaulted often experience long-term adverse consequences similar to those reported by females who are sexually victimized.

CHAPTER 17

Sexual Abuse of Children

■ Child sexual abuse is sexual contact between an adult and a child. A distinction is generally made between nonrelative child sexual abuse, called pedophilia or child molestation, and incest, which involves sexual contact between an adult and a child relative.

■ Most child sexual abusers are male relatives, friends, or neighbors of their victims.

■ No classic profile of a pedophile exists, other than that most pedophiles are heterosexual males and known to the victim. Prosecuted offenders tend to be shy, lonely, conservative, and often moralistic or religious. They frequently have difficulty relating to other adults and tend to feel inadequate and inferior.

■ Some pedophiles were sexually victimized themselves dur­ing childhood.

■ It is difficult to estimate the frequency of incest and pedo­philia in U. S. society. Estimates of the number of girls sexu­ally victimized range from 20% to 33%, whereas comparable estimates for boys range from 9% to 16%.

■ Research suggests that the number of boys who are sexually molested in the United States may be substantially higher than was previously reported.

■ Considerable controversy exists over whether a person can repress memories of sexual abuse and then suddenly or gradually recover them after exposure to certain triggering stimuli.

■ Cyberspace pedophilia is widespread, and the responsibil­ity for protecting children, in the absence of other effective safeguards, resides primarily with parents.

■ Child sexual abuse can be a traumatic and emotionally damaging experience, with long-term negative consequences for the victim.

■ Survivors often experience a loss of childhood innocence, a disruption of their normal sexual development, and a profound sense of betrayal. Other damaging consequences include low self-esteem and difficulty establishing satisfying sexual and emotional relationships as adults.

■ There are a number of treatment programs for survivors of child sexual abuse, ranging from individual therapy to group and couple-oriented approaches.

■ It is important to talk to children about protecting themselves from sexual abuse. Children need to know the difference between okay and not-okay touching, the fact that they have rights, the fact that they can report abuse without fear of blame, and strategies for escaping uncomfortable situations.

job or in academia that creates discomfort or interferes with the victim’s job or education, or does both.

■ Guidelines provided by the Equal Employment Opportu­nity Commission essentially describe two kinds of sexual harassment. In the quid pro quo variety, a worker or student believes that failure to comply with sexual advances will be detrimental to his or her professional or academic standing. In the second form, the actions of supervisors, coworkers, professors, or students make the workplace or academic set­ting a “hostile or offensive environment."

■ Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment. A company can be liable for such coercive actions by its employees.

■ Estimates of the percentage of women sexually harassed on the job range from 40% to 70%. Comparable estimates for men range from 10% to 20%.

■ Claims of same-sex sexual harassment, which is now pro­hibited by law, are increasing.

■ Victims of sexual harassment may experience a variety of negative financial, emotional, and physical effects.

■ Sexual harassment occurs on the Internet in the form of cyberstalking in which Web technologies are used as weap­ons for stalking and harassment.

■ Sexual harassment also occurs in educational settings. Most commonly, perpetrators are male professors or instructors who harass female students.

■ Surveys indicate that 20-40% of undergraduate women, 30-50% of graduate women, and 9-29% of male under­graduates report having been sexually harassed.