Harassment U.

Study: Sexual harassment by men -- and women -- is common on campus, but its emotional impact on "coeds" is greater.

Published January 25, 2006 9:28PM (EST)

Researchers for the American Association of University Women have found (PDF) that 62 percent of college students have experienced sexual harassment "ranging from offensive jokes and gestures to touching and grabbing," CNN reports, noting that 32 percent experience physical harassment as well. "Men are more likely to harass than women, but women and men are equally likely to be harassed."

Well, that's interesting. But CNN -- choosing instead to offer a weird Anita Hill primer -- makes no mention of the disproportionate impact of sexual harassment behind those numbers. "Sexual harassment takes an especially heavy toll on female students," says the AAUW. Sixty-eight percent of female students who experience harassment feel "very" or "somewhat" upset, vs. 35 percent of males. Female students are also "more likely than male students to feel embarrassed, angry, less confident, afraid, confused, or disappointed with their college experience as a result of sexual harassment." (The Washington Post gave this gap short shrift as well.)

Surely some of the guys who shrug off harassment are just fronting; the numbers are probably, in reality, a bit closer together. And, of course, this doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned for the harassed guys who are emotionally affected. But how much do you want to bet that the press, or at least the press that considers the AAUW a chief architect of the "war on boys," is going to take that "equally likely" stat and run with it?

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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