Education should safely shape the minds and attitudes of young adults and children,
especially with the in loco parentis principle in mind. Young adults who have
experienced sexual harassment in the very environment that should have protected
them as learners suffer greatly from social problems and from emotional and
academic strain. Victims often become future harassers themselves. Sexual
harassment should be eradicated from the education sector in toto to ensure a safe
High incidences of harassment have been found among college students in
America, while a very small percentage of such transgressions have been reported.
Similar statistics in South African universities are not available, the problem is
therefore managed in a void. The position in schools is more alarming. In South
Africa it has been found that 30 per cent of girls are raped at school and that male
learners and educators are the main culprits.
Not only is the magnitude of this problem gravely underestimated, but the effect of
sexual harassment on learners has also not been managed properly. The authors
argue that the focus is on avoiding legal responsibility and accountability, rather than
on being proactive. The historic invisibility of sexual harassment in education can be
attributed to the wrongful silencing thereof.