Sexual Harassment in Schools in the Free State Province (South Africa): An Exploratory Study

To add a paper, Login.

Despite the serious legal, emotional, health and educational consequences of sexual harassment for perpetrators, victims and educational authorities, it seems as if a culture of silence and acceptance surrounds sexual harassment in South African schools. The South African Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, warns that “if we allow violence, abuse and drugs to become a familiar and accepted part of schooling, our future is lost”. In this paper we will attempt to heed the Minister’s warning by reporting on the findings of a survey on learners’ from the Fee State Province’s exposure to peer and educator-to-learner sexual harassment. A self reporting questionnaire was completed by 483 grade 8-12 learners. The data revealed that Free State schools are not “hell-holes of sexual violence”. Nevertheless, verbal, non-verbal and physical peer and educator-to-learner violence is fairly common in some schools in the Free State. This paper will also shred light on the influence of demographic variables, masculinity, poverty as well as myths surrounding HIV/Aids on sexual harassment in schools. Recommendations on how to address peer, as well as educator-to-learner sexual harassment are also provided.

Keywords: Sexual Harassment, South African Schools, Peer Harassment, Educator-to-peer Harassment
Stream: Social Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Corene de Wet

Lecturer, Department of Comparative Education and Education Management, University of the Free State
Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

Prof. Corene de Wet has been teaching comparative education since 1992 at the University of the Free State. She has supervised many postgraduate students, delivered papers at national and international conferences, and published extensively on crime and violence in schools and in other fields such as cultural diversity as an educational issue.

Therza Palm-Forster

Lecturer, Department of Comparative Education and Education Management, University of the Free State
Bloemfontein, South Africa

Ref: S08P0017