Survey: students underreport harassment in academia

"Unpleasant sarcasm", humiliation and constant negative remarks were identified as the top three forms of psychological hasassment in Lithuanian universities.

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Lithuania
Survey: students underreport harassment in academia - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

A survey of over 2,200 students by the Lithuanian Students' Union revealed that a third of the people interviewed has experienced at least one form of intimidation. The study also revealed that women were more likely than men to be harassed.

These results are consistent with Lithuania's current wave of sexual harassment allegations against art professors and famous artists, reported years later as a result of the #metoo campaign. Some of the implicated lecturers have resigned or been banned from working with students

However, naming the problem and the perpetrators might not be sufficient. When artists are involved, many still argue that their talent excuses them from the norms of civilized behaviour, or that victims did not send clear signals of non-consent. According to surveys, Lithuanians are twice as likely than the EU average to believe that victims exaggerate sexual harassment allegations or make them up.

Details from the story:

  • Over a third of students, both at bachelor and master's levels, reported experiencing psychological intimidation. Among those, three quarters (thus, over a quarter of all students) reported being intimidated by a lecturer.
  • Around 5% reported experiencing sexual harassment -- mostly in the form of humiliating sexist jokes, but also staring, innuendo and touching. Around a half of these cases were perpetrated by lecturers.
  • Nine in ten students who have been confronted with psychological intimidation or sexual harassment did not report it. A third of them feared that reporting would impact their study results, and a quarter did not know where to make these complaints.
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