Harassment: 'Stop talking about boys as sex pests and educate them better'

Better sex education is needed in order to solve harassment in schools, as girls begin to wear shorts under skirts

Girls are wearing shorts under skirts 'to avoid harassment'

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Schools need to stop demonising boys and provide better sex education to reduce harassment, experts have told talkRADIO. 

The House of Commons' Women and Equalities Committee is conducting an investigation into sexual harassment and violence in England's schools, and on Tuesday reported that female students often modify their behaviour by wearing shorts under their skirts to reduce the chance of being harassed in the playground.

Easy access to hardcore pornography has led to an increasingly "normalised culture of sexual harassment" towards women, the Committee heard.

According to journalist Martin Daubney, former editor of Loaded magazine and now a campaigner on boys' and men's issues, the real problem lies in the way that young people are educated about gender and relationships.

"These boys need to be talked to in a way that teaches them responsibility," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. 

"Stop talking about boys as sex pests, stop talking about boys as a problem, instead look at a more balanced and nuanced sex education system which can talk to boys and girls and identify their own needs.

"I would love to see a recruitment drive to get more men in to the caring professions so we can directly give role models."

Daubney, who regularly visits schools to educate children around the dangers of pornography, believes the wearing of shorts under skirts is as much about fitting in with fashion as discouraging unwanted attention.

"Yes, girls are wearing shorts under skirts, but why?" he asked.

"It has become commonplace so girls can wear short skirts and maintain their dignity, while being active and doing things that girls do."

The chief executive of anti-abuse charity Tender, Susie McDonald, agrees that better education, at school and at home, is the way forward.

"We doing a massive disservice to our boys and young men to make the assumption that somehow they won't be able to control themselves if a girl walks past them wearing a short skirt," she told Julia.

"Young people are getting mixed messages about what’s OK and what's acceptable, and girls are under the belief that they only mean something, only have a value, if they look good to boys and men.

"We're all responsible for trying to change that through the media, through education and through the way that we parent."

Listen to the whole debate above and let us know your thoughts.