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​NHRCK survey spotlights sexual harassment of school students

Graphic: Outside view of a high school, Seoul

The Commission surveyed over 1,000 female and male high school students to better understand their experiences of sexual harassment by teachers.

Four out of 10 high school students believe that sexual harassment by teachers takes place in schools, according to a survey by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK).

Of the 814 female high school students and 200 male students surveyed by the NHRCK, 40.9 per cent said that "they believe sexual harassment by teachers exists," and 27.7 per cent of respondents said they had experienced sexual harassment by teachers first hand.

When asked if they had experienced harassment in primary and secondary school, 17.8 percent and 17.5% respectively, answered "yes."

Male teachers were identified as harassers by 45 per cent of the surveyed students, 29.2 per cent identified female teachers as harassers, and 25.8 per cent of the students identified both male and female teachers as harassers.

The students claimed sexual harassment took place "during class" (53.9 per cent), followed by venues where students consulted with their teachers.

Of those students who had experienced unwanted sexual advances:

  • 37.9 per cent said that "they pretended not to notice and kept still"
  • 19.8 per cent said "they thought it was wrong but just persevered"
  • 26 per cent said that they were unable to take appropriate action because "they didn't know what to do"
  • 21.9 per cent said that "they were afraid of being disadvantaged in their chances of attending college"
  • 15.5 per cent said they were afraid "that other classmates would find out".

Some students suggested that the reason for sexual advances by teachers were "attempts to get closer to students" (25.9 per cent) and "because the teachers were taking interest in students" (12.3 per cent).

More than three in five students (62.7 per cent) said "there must be harsher punishment for teachers who commit sexual harassment".

Harassers commonly prey on students who are in difficult family situations and this can make it hard for victims to recognise that they are being sexually harassed, the NHRCK said.

Date: 4 May 2018

Source: Korea Bizwire

Image credits

  1. Outside view of a high school, Seoul - therealrealjd, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2GXGw8D