Sexual harassment of girls in school uniform endemic in UK

A third of UK schoolgirls have been sexually harassed in the street while wearing school uniform, according to a new report.

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, United Kingdom
Sexual harassment of girls in school uniform endemic in UK - NewsMavens
School Girls UK, YouTube

Why this story matters:

The sexual harassment of women is bad enough. But one in three schoolgirls in Britain are being sexually harassed while wearing their school uniforms, according to a survey by children's rights charity Plan International UK.

The unwanted attention included groping, catcalling, wolf-whistling and staring, the charity found.

"It's simply not acceptable that girls as young as 12 have been wolf-whistled at in public, touched against their will, stared at or even followed," said Lucy Russell, Plan International UK’s Head of Girls’ Rights.

The issue extends to the rest of Europe. Girls receiving unwanted sexual attention in public places while wearing their school uniforms has also been reported in Northern Ireland.

It's also not uncommon for girls to be harassed by fellow pupils while at school. A 2015 report by Swedish anti-bullying charity Friends found one in five girls was subjected to sexual harassment at school in Sweden.

While harassment in public by grown men and harassment in schools by boys are two different problems, they stem from the same source: the relentless fetishization and sexualisation of the female sex.

And if boys are learning these attitudes while they're in school, can we expect them to be better on the streets when they're men?

Details from the story:

  • A report by girls' rights charity Plan International found 35% of girls had been sexually harassed while wearing school uniform.
  • One in eight of those surveyed was 12 years old when they had their first experience of unwanted sexual attention or contact.
  • One in seven girls said they had been followed while in their school uniform.
  • 8% said they had been filmed or photographed by a stranger without their consent or had been a victim of "upskirting" while wearing a school skirt.
  • The report surveyed 1,004 girls and women from the ages of 14 to 21 in the UK.
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