In a class I’m taking called “Issues of Abuse,” we’re examining some pretty heavy and controversial issues in schools. Today, we address sexual harassment and in particular a case study that featured ‘slut shaming,’ in which the teacher involved did nothing about it.
One of my classmates posted in a discussion that she felt there is an unhealthy sense of acceptance around harassment, which is why the teacher didn’t respond. I posted the following:
“I agree with what you’re saying [fellow teacher candidate], and I’d like to add another factor: people are uncomfortable discussing sex and sexuality, particularly where it pertains to minors. I think there is an atmosphere of acceptance or a general belief that ‘that’s just the way it is’–which unfortunately makes preachers of abstinence feel justified when they say “well, if she didn’t want to get teased…”
I think the atmosphere of acceptance is perpetuated because many of the teachers are uncomfortable addressing their students’ sexual harassment worries. I think that probably has to do partially with a worry that they might get in trouble with the parents (or worse) if word got out that they were discussing sexuality in any context with students. The other part is a general discomfort with the issue of sex and having to think of their students as sexual beings.
So, yes, silence and complacency isn’t the answer, but I think that a lot of people in positions of authority need to address the above in order to overcome it and come to students’ defense.”
Granted, these thoughts were the knee-jerk reaction to the case-study, and I do not consider myself an authority on the subject, but there it is. What do you think?