Many people think sexual harassment is an on-going issue amongst adults. You are correct to assume that sexual harassment is unfortunately frequent in New York City workplaces. However, did you know that a recent study found that at least 1 in 5 middle school children experience sexual harassment?

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign surveyed nearly 1,400 students from four Midwestern middle schools on whether they had experienced unwanted sexual harassment. Overall, 27 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys reported they had experienced verbal or physical sexual harassment or violence.

Some of the most common forms of harassment amongst the adolescents were unwanted physical touching, homophobic slurs, rumor-spreading, and verbal sexual commentary. Most of the sexual harassment took place in common areas such as hallways and classrooms.

Dorothy Espelage, the principal investigator on the team, was shocked to learn how normal this behavior seemed to the kids.

“It is a cause of concern that these youth are at such a young age dismissive of behaviors that are clearly distressing,” the study says.

However, given the lack of education and understanding regarding sexual harassment, it is not unsurprisingly sexual harassment is so overlooked. In a study published last June, Espelage and her colleagues found many school staff members did not understand what constitutes sexual harassment and couldn’t clearly distinguish it from bullying.

Espelage said, “We are not talking to kids about what sexual harassment is. We are not talking to kids about boundaries. So when these things happen, they don’t know what to call it.”

NYC sexual harassment at work

Regrettably, many adults do not grow out of this middle school behavior. And even more, unfortunately, many individuals still lack the understanding of what sexual harassment is and how to handle it. If you are being subjected to unwanted requests for sexual favors or unwelcome verbal, pictorial or physical harassment of a sexual nature, you may be the victim of illegal harassment. With the help of an NYC lawyer, you can fight back and help end the inappropriate behavior. You may be eligible for compensation.

The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handles a multitude of cases that involve sexual harassment in New York City. For further information, please feel free to call us at 212-587-0760 for a free consultation.