Boulder, CO– Sexual harassment and assault are growing issues for teens, and a new study shows that LGBTQ teens encounter harassment far more than heterosexual teens.
Researchers for the study, which was conducted by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes against Children Research Center in Durham, found that teens who identified as gay, transsexual or “questioning” were more likely to have been the victims of sexual harassment over the past years than heterosexual teens, according to Reuters. And just as importantly the rates of harassment vary among the different subset of sexual identities.
Sexual harassment of teens within the sexual minority is not unusual but the researchers discovered that females were particularly vulnerable.
“What was new and particularly interesting here is that even within the population of sexual minority youth, rates differ with bisexual girls reporting more than bisexual boys and lesbian/queer girls reporting more than gay/queer boys,” said Kimberly Mitchell, lead author of the study said.
Between 2010 and 2012, a total of 5,139 teenagers in the U.S. answered questionnaires for researchers about their sexual identities and whether they had experienced sexual harassment within the past year.
Reuters reported the majority of the teens, 3,362, identified as heterosexual, with 643 boys and 398 girls identifying themselves as gay, lesbian or queer. Four hundred and seventy-one girls and 62 boys identified as bisexual. The remaining, 67 boys and 136 girls said they were “questioning” their sexuality.
Data from the study showed that 43 percent of heterosexual girls and 23 percent of heterosexual boys experienced sexual harassment with the last 12 months. Seventy two percent of lesbian or queer girls reported being harassed with only 66 percent of gay boys and bisexual girls reported being harassed, according to Reuters. Eighty-one percent of transgendered teens reported being harassed.
Mitchell explained to Reuters that most often the harassment takes place in person, but it can spill into the online world. Internet harassment and bullying has escalated as we become increasingly dependent on technology. Sexual harassment and bullying through text messages, emails and social media is easy and becoming more common.
More and more stories of teen suicides as a result of online harassment are emerging so this study can help researchers identify the students more likely to be harassed and develop effective prevention programs. Peers need to be taught how to intervene when they see sexual harassment and who they should report it to.
This study along with other studies shows that women are more often the target of sexual harassment and the reasons and modes of harassment are evolving. Students and workers of all sexes and sexualities need a better tools and support in order for them to have the confidence to speak out.
When someone is being harassed, they should reach out a Boulder sexual harassment attorney to show them how to effectively stop the harassment. You Boulder attorney’s goal is to make certain you get the compensation for your lost wages and emotional distress.