Sexual violence is more than rape. It includes a continuum of behaviors often characterized in entertainment media and perceived as “normal.” These behaviors range from passive intrusions – like disrespectful and sexualized comments, to more aggressive incursions – like explicit text messages and groping.
And sexual violence, including sexual harassment and sexual bullying, doesn’t just affect adults. It affects our children, too – some as young as 10, 11, and 12 years old.
Many kids who commit these actions don’t realize they’re doing anything wrong. National research suggests most children think they’re flirting or being funny when they engage in these types of behaviors with their peers.
But sexual harassment and sexual bullying between children has consequences. Although girls are by and large most affected, no child is immune to its effects. Research finds adolescents and teens who suffer relentless sexual harassment are more reluctant to go to school; less likely to perform well in school; and have physical reactions to the torment.
If they aren’t stopped, children who harass today may grow up to become more aggressive offenders in the coming years.
That’s why GNESA developed Step Up. Step In., a statewide movement dedicated to teaching adolescents, and those who influence them about healthy interactions, healthy friendships, and healthy relationships.
It takes a variety of age-appropriate, customizable messages, strategies, and activities into communities to prevent sexual harassment from occurring.
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Contact Us for more information about this initiative or to tell us about your prevention program.