Sexual abuse and violence in schools

A woman sitting lonely near a window




Sexual abuse, simply put, can be described as a pattern or an act of unwanted sexual activity by one person on another person. Sexual abuse, since it is unwanted, is aided by force or violence. When force is used in the perpetuating of this vice, it is called sexual assault or violence.

In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that young women are most commonly taken advantage of in academic environments. This is a trend that will not surprise astute followers of social norms. Sexual abuse and violence are vices in the society that can be easily perpetuated by villains in the position of authority over people they deem lower on the ladder of significance than they are. The school environment, sadly, provides the perfect power relationship for these vices to thrive.

Who are the perpetrators of sexual abuse and violence?

When tackling the problem of sexual abuse in schools, it is important to note the perpetrators of these vile acts;

1. People in a position of authority

Several studies have noted that sexual abuse and violence is often not about the act itself, but the need for the perpetrator to display power, that is ego trip. Thus people in a position of authority like administrators, deans, teachers and so on, can perpetuate this act.

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2. Students

Students can also be perpetrators too. Criminally minded students can exist in the educational system and these people can perpetuate these crimes against their fellow students.

Who are the common victims

Just as people in positions of authority can perpetrate sexual abuse, they can also become victims of sexual abuse and violence. Although the far more common scenario is sexual abuse against students, it would be naive, insensitive, and intellectually dishonest to disregard the situations of teachers who suffer abuses of this kind.

1.     Students

Students are the group most affected by this act by sexual deviants and criminals. Because of their vulnerable position, it is easy for sexual predators in power or among the body of students to have a good time preying on innocent students. Many students are given no protection at all and are thus are very exposed to the criminal machinations and manipulation of sexual predators.

2.     Teachers

Teachers, although a group less afflicted by the evil of sexual abuse and violence, can easily be drawn into its cruel grasps. Teachers can be manipulated and sexually harassed by daring and villainous students. Not only that, but teachers can also fall victim to sexual abuse by other teachers as well as their seniors. Although this scenario is not common, it would be wrong to say it can’t happen.

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How to reduce cases of sexual abuse and violence in schools

The school can carry out several measures to ensure that sexual abuse and violence is reduced to a minimum

1.     Education and awareness for parents and teachers

The school can have teachers and guardians learn about the warning signs of sexual abuse.  Learning the behavioral signs that show that a student is experiencing sexual abuse will allow the school to step in promptly and deal with the situation before further escalation. This also helps in preventive measures as learning to spot potentially problematic situations or relationships can help avoid sexual abuse in schools.

2.     Education and awareness for students

The school can encourage parents and/or guardians to provide age-appropriate information for their kids so as to help reduce sexual abuse. Some students do not know that certain behavior by others to them can be termed as sexual abuse and are often lost in the process of classifying such behavior. Educating these students and telling them what is appropriate or not can help combat sexual abuse in schools.

3.     Making relevant policy

The creation of policies that reduce risk can also go a long way in combating the menace of sexual abuse. Policies like mandating background check for potential employees can help avoid a situation where sexual offenders are hired. Also, setting down ground rules for student-teacher interaction can help to avoid any sort of ambiguity in the roles of students and teachers.

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How to take care of sexually abused students and teachers

Sexual abuse victims need special care. Sexual abuse is a traumatic act and it leaves its victim scarred, oftentimes for life. Rehabilitation is needed if these people are to function properly in a society.

  • For students, the easiest way to go is often psychotherapy. This treatment can offer a process of healing where the victim learns to accept the horrible reality of their experience, and learn to enjoy life again. Group therapy can also be a good way for victims of sexual abuse to work through their pain in conjunction with others who have experienced such.
  • The same process is applicable to teachers too. They can learn to accept and view the realities of their abuse in a healthy manner with psychotherapy. They can also learn to trust and share their feelings with group therapy.




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