21:06 GMT19 June 2021
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    Numerous reports of sexual harassment, abuse and the assault of pupils were posted on the Everyone's Invited website in March, triggering an outcry over the "rape culture" pervasive in UK schools.

    Widespread sexual harassment and sexist name-calling has become so “commonplace” among schoolchildren that teachers, government, and Ofsted have been reeling in shock, according to a new report.

    Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, carried out a review, visiting 32 state and private schools in the UK. After speaking with over 900 young people, they discovered that online sexual abuse and the sharing of nude photos were becoming "normalised" among school children.

    Chief Inspector of Schools Amanda Spielman was cited by Sky News as saying:

    "This review shocked me. It's alarming that many children and young people, particularly girls, feel they have to accept sexual harassment as part of growing up. Whether it's happening at school or in their social life, they simply don't feel it's worth reporting.”

    She added that neither the schools themselves not the inspectors were prepared for the scale of the problem. The review discovered that 90 percent of the girls and 50 percent of boys acknowledged being sent unwanted explicit pictures or videos either "a lot" or "sometimes". According to the students, boys sometimes collected "nudes" of the girls, so as to later share them on social media. The girls, as per their interviews, were upset that there wasn't clear teaching of what kind of behaviour is acceptable.

    "It shouldn't be our responsibility to educate boys," one pupil was cited as saying.

    The report added children "often don't see the point of challenging or reporting this harmful behaviour because it's seen as a normal experience".

    In an effort to remedy the situation, the review recommended that education officials act on the assumption that there is sexual harassment occurring in their schools, even if they haven’t come across evidence of it.

    Year seven pupils are directed to socially distance as they arrive for their first day at Kingsdale Foundation School in London, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020
    © AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth
    Year seven pupils are directed to socially distance as they arrive for their first day at Kingsdale Foundation School in London, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020
    "This is a cultural issue; it's about attitudes and behaviours becoming normalised, and schools and colleges can't solve that by themselves. The government needs to look at online bullying and abuse, and the ease with which children can access pornography, said Amanda Spielman.

    However, she emphasised that schools and colleges have to play a key role too, by striving to maintain the appropriate culture within their walls. Relationship, sex and health education can be offered by the schools that “reflects reality and equips young people with the information they need".

    The report was commissioned after a website called Everyone's Invited recorded thousands of children’s testimonies from 3,000 schools, predominantly from girls, who revealed claims of abuse by peers.

    "This reinforces the shocking reality that rape culture is everywhere, including all schools,” Soma Sara was quoted by the outlet as saying.

    In the wake of the review, the Department for Education vowed to introduce better guidance at schools to recognise sexual harassment and abuse.
    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was cited as saying:

    "Ofsted's review has rightly highlighted where we can take specific and urgent action to address sexual abuse in education. But there are wider societal influences at play, meaning schools and colleges cannot be expected to tackle these issues alone."

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    Gavin Williamson, abuse, sex abuse, Britain, UK, sexual harassment, sexual harassment, Sexual Harassment
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