Literature Review

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Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. On the other hand bullying refers to use superior strength or influence to intimidate somebody, typically to force him or her to do what one wants. The purpose of this study is to identify the effect of sexual harassment and bullying for high school boys and girls. The study seek to answer the research question, how does sexual harassment and bullying affect school performance for students. Since the beginning of time people have had to deal with bullies in schools and sexual harassment cases. The study is going to include extensive research on what causes sexual harassment and bullying as well as its effect on school performance.

Review of Literature

Bullying and sexual harassment are hazardous issues that are trending especially in secondary schools. These issues often leave students unable to escape their bullies and those harassing them sexually hence they are left feeling lonely and helpless. However, students that are sexually harassed faced more issues than those bullied. These issues are; more school absence, thought on changing schools, lowered concentration, less participation in class, lower grades, and loss of friends (Costigan, 1998). Nearly a quarter of the students in the recent study reported not wanting to attend school because of their experience of sexual harassment. The impact was generally larger among girls. Research showed that poor academic achievement and poor relationships with classmates were associated with bullying (Costigan, 1998). Students who were bullied by their peers at school tended to report feeling less connected to their peers, teachers, and school and being less motivated to perform well at school.

Although bullied students often receive disrespectful treatment because of individual differences, for example, being perceived as too short, overweight, or unattractive, sexual harassment activates stereotypes about gender and sexuality with deep cultural roots that reinforce dominance hierarchies that are arguably the primary bases of according power and privilege in society (Smith, 2000). These stereotypes not only affect self-identity but also influence attitudes and beliefs, self- presentations, and patterns of interactions within social categories.


In the study the method used is sampling. Data were collected from students at a middle school and a high school in a suburban New England community; 236girls and 337 boys as well as from a middle school and two high schools in southeastern Michigan; 102 girls and 86 boys who completed paper-and-pencil surveys during classes that drew a wide range of students. Parental consent forms were sent home with the students (Smith, 2000). The average age of the students was 15 years. About a third of the sample was 16 or older; a quarter was 14 or younger. The response rate was 51% for New England and 56% for Michigan. High school students today face many challenges in developing and maintaining healthy relationships with, peers, and schools.

Conclusively, many girls face challenges to their sense of well-being in a society that reinforces slimness and beauty (Smith, 2000). Some boys, especially from lower-income backgrounds, fail to complete high school. It was found that bullying occurred more frequently than sexual harassment. Also, sexual harassment adversely affected the performance of girls.


Costigan, L. (1998). Bullying and harrasment in school. Blackrock, Co. Dublin: Columba Press.

Smith, P. (2000). Bullying and harassment in schools and the rights of children. Children & Society, 14(4), 294-303.<294::aid-chi631>;2-y

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