POLITICS

Sexual Violence 'Blighting The Lives' Of Teenagers MPs Warn As Inquiry Launched

19/04/2016 00:01 | Updated 19 April 2016

Sexualized behaviour is the "new social norm" for teenagers a report published on Tuesday has found, as MPs announce a new inquiry into sexual violence in schools.

A survey commissioned by the Commons women and equalities committee found sexually charged behaviour "drives young people’s physical interactions and permeates through to their 24-hour-a-day life online".

Conservative MP Maria Miller, the chair of the committee, said sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools was having "a profound impact" on young people.

"We need to address this issue now, and stop it from blighting the lives of another generation of young people – both male and female," she said.

"We’re asking teachers, students, parents, youth organisations and anyone else with an interest in this subject to share their knowledge and experience with us. We’ll use this evidence to find the most effective measures to reduce levels of sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools."

The committee has asked 300 young people for their views on how sexual harassment has impacted their lives.

"Lad culture is a big issue; it is really common. In my school lads would come up to girls and grab their ass, try and push them into the changing rooms and stuff and then say don’t get upset it’s just banter." Gemma, 22.

“A girl in my school took intimate pictures and sent them to a guy. He sent them to the whole school. It was just that everyone was doing it. She thought it would make him love her.” Laura, 20.

“This girl was staying at my house. She took a photo of me in bath and put it on Facebook. I had like 100 and something friend requests, some people thinking it was a joke. I had one more exam but I ended up not going in. I didn’t leave the house for four months.” Dani, 21.

The report found that of those asked, 17% said there were no adults they could turn to at school when they had a problem.

And more than a third (37%) said students did not treat each other with respect.

Just over half (58%) were concerned that teachers did not understand the pressures of life outside of school.

The report said young people feel "pressurised into having sex otherwise they’re branded ‘frigid’ by their peers".

"There is a sense that boys have an ‘entitlement’ to girls and some report being ‘bullied for being a virgin.'

"Our research with young people aged over 16 has found that sexualised behaviour is the new social norm in young people’s daily lives and adults and institutions need to ‘face up to it’."

Data published in September 2015 showed that 5,500 sexual offences were recorded in UK schools over a three year period, including 600 rapes.

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