• How to Tackle Sexual Harassment in Chinas High Schools:

    Cases, Responses and solutions

  • Abstract

    Sexual harassment is by nature a severely harmful issue that lacks transparency. As our research will show, not only do sexual harassment exist in high schools where students are not yet mature enough to handle these by themselves, but that even those who are responsible for investigating the reported cases often do a less than satisfactory job. This brings about catastrophic consequences – not only are the victims likely to have various severe mental health issues, the harassers who go unpunished may further inflict harm onto others.


    Fully aware of the dire consequences created by the status quo, this paper will attempt to answer the questions of how to tackle sexual harassment in China’s High Schools, through analyzing cases of sexual harassment, how they are handled, and what solutions are there to improve the status quo.


    The paper hypothesizes that in order to achieve the objective of more effectively tackling the problem of sexual harassment, there must first be a thorough investigation into why the status quo is unsatisfactory. For this, the paper includes sections in both literature review and research analysis that analyze the status quo from both quantitative and qualitative data. Moreover, we uniquely focused our interview questions on how victims or others associated with past sexual harassment feel would improve the status quo. In the end, we propose that the solutions should contain two parts: 1) a specialized and effective institution that follows specific guidelines laid out in the paper, and 2) education programs that teach students how to identify, protect themselves from, and avoid taking part in sexual harassment.


    Keywords: Sexual harassment, Institution, Education, High school, China

  • 1.Introduction

    The choice of this topic originated when we learnt from past and current students in our school that there were sexual harassment cases that have gone unnoticed and thus unreported. We believe that the consequences of unreported sexual harassment are very severe. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, it might severely harm victims' psychological and physical well-being, including causing depression, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, and sexual dysfunction. More importantly, it might encourage the unpunished perpetrators to proceed on replicating similar behaviors, inflicting harm on more innocents in the future. 1


    The next step we took was to find the reasons behind such a phenomenon. After some initial investigations, such as reading the relevant academic research and surveys, we decided to conduct our research to bridge the gaps of some existing research, such as the lack of in-depth qualitative data from both the harassers and the victims.
    Following that, we narrowed down the solutions into two parts. First, to deal with existing sexual harassment, we suggest establishing an effective and specialized institution that fit recommended guidelines which will be elaborated later in the report. Second, to stop future potential sexual harassment as well as teaching students how to better protect themselves, we see proper education on the subject matter as essential.


    1. [ Mozes, Alan. "Sexual Assault Has Long-Term Mental, Physical Impact". WebMD, 2018, https://www.webmd.com/women/news/20181003/sexual-assault-has-long-term-mental-physical-impact.]

  • 2.Topic analysis

    2.1 Research Question

    1. Does sexual harassment exist in high schools in China? If so, to what extend does it exist?
    2. To what extent are sexual harassment cases in high schools resolved improperly?
    3. If the aforementioned problem of unresolved sexual harassment does exist, what is the most effective solution to it?

    2.2 Hypothesis

    Hypothesis 1: Sexual harassment exists in the school.
    Hypothesis 2: Sexual harassment cases taking place in schools are mostly unresolved or resolved improperly. 2
    Hypothesis 3: Two solutions are in need:
    3.1 An effective institution responsible for report, investigation and solutions for sexual harassment cases is helpful for protecting victims and punishing perpetrators
    3.2 Effective sexual-harassment-related education


    2.[ Note: here, “resolved improperly” can be interpreted in many different ways, including but not limited to resources/psychological support lacking, perpetrator unpunished/case hidden up, victims lacking the channel/support to speak out, etc.]

    2.3 Literature Review

    For the first hypothesis on the prevalence of sexual harassment in schools, many studies focusing on it has been done abroad. However, admittedly, it is lacking in China. One of the Chinese campus studies with the highest sample size is a survey by Guangzhou Gender and Sexuality Education Center (GSEC), an NGO focused on gender-equality education and anti-sexual harassment. The study conducted 3 utilized an online survey based on Fitzgerald’s study 4, which collected 6592 valid responses from all 34 provinces in China. On the front of the victims, the report finds that, “nearly seventy percent (68.68%) of respondents encountered sexual harassment on various levels.” Moreover, this was a harm suffered by both sexes – “75% of female respondents and 35.3% of male respondents experienced sexual harassments.” Furthermore, Sexual minorities – LGBTQ+ - are more likely and more frequently experience sexual harassment when compared to heterosexual individuals. On the harasser, the report finds that “Over 50% of offenders were students or alumni… Almost 10% of sexual offenders were authoritative figures… including college leadership, faculty and advisors, etc.”

    This to a very large extent supports our hypothesis that sexual harassment does indeed exist in Chinese schools. Its large sample size of 6592 also signifies that this is a prevalent issue that is not limited to a few schools. There is also various types of relationships under which sexual harassment happens in school, including authorities to students, between peers, as well as between strangers and students. This is also confirmed by a study done by one university in Nanjing 5, with 1731 respondents, which found that 12.58% of its students (16.23% of all females, 5.73% of all males, 10.00% of all non-binary persons) have personally suffered from sexual harassment. One specific precedent that can be referenced is when a teacher was accused of sexually harassed a student in one high school in Foshan 6. The police’s investigation confirmed that this was true, yet because of the statute of limitation, the teacher could not be appropriately punished. This leads on to the importance of proper, timely, investigation and resolution of the cases, as well as the current lacking in such, such is our second hypothesis.

    Prof Hlavka from Marquette University, focusing on sexual violence and the law, reported that “Despite high rates of gendered violence among youth, very few women report these incidents to authority figures.”7 The University survey has also confirmed such need of reporting and resolution of cases. Among those harassed, 18.89% chose to do nothing, while another 25.87% chose to only confide in friends and family, whereas only 6.29% reported to the school authorities, reports to the police were even lower at a mere 3.15%. Even among those who have reported to school authorities, 50% reported that absolutely nothing was done following the reporting, and a further 16.67% reported that they were told to remain silent and not to spread the news.

    Going back to the aforementioned study, among the 6592 respondents, less than 4% reported the incident to either the police or the school authorities, whereas 46.6% chose to remain complete silence and tolerate the behavior. Thus, this not only confirms that the vast majority of cases have not been reported (in this sample, more than 96%), and consequently were not resolved property. Through the myriad of researches done, it is also clear that all kinds of sexual harassment – physical, verbal, gender-based, online, offline, etc. – are all prevalent issues among which none has had a remotely satisfactory rate of reporting and resolution.


    This prompted us to propose two solutions. 1) a specialized institution to handle the report and resolve the incident, and 2) further education so that victims can realize that they are being harassed and know from whom they should seek help in the first place.


    The need for an effective institution to investigate and resolve the case is shown in the prevalent low reporting and resolution rate. Stone and Couch from Texas Tech University summarizes that “Adults in school settings are doing less than they should to stop student peer sexual harassment.”[ Stone, Marilyn, and Sue Couch. “Peer Sexual Harassment among High School Students: Teachers’ Attitudes, Perceptions, and Responses.” The High School Journal, vol. 88, no. 1, University of North Carolina Press, 2004, pp. 1–13, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40364273.] Beyond the evidence showing that this is the issue, the reasons why it is reveals more about what the solutions we can take.


    When asked why they did not report to authorities, the most common reasons among those 46.6% of respondents who remained silent were that 1. Thinking that it wouldn’t make a difference (55.4%). 2. Thinking it wasn’t within the jurisdiction of the school authorities and thus didn’t know who to go to (40.4%). 3. Thinking it wasn’t significant enough to warrant a report (29.2%). 4. Worried about the process being too complicated (26.8%). 5.Afraid of their personal information being exposed and thus affecting their education (21.6%). 6. Wasn’t aware that reporting is a viable option (15.8%). Among these reasons, Number 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 respectively point directly to the need of, and the lack of, an institution with transparency and accountability, clearly defined jurisdiction, simplified procedure, protection of privacy and confidentiality, and widely known access points to report.

    Moreover on the education solution, its need is shown by Number 3 and 6. Admittedly, some cases might have actually been too insignificant to be punished. Nevertheless, numerous other researches, like the one conducted in the University, asked participants what they consider to be sexual harassment. Many actions that are in fact sexual harassment, are not categorized as such by respondents when asked. For example, sending other text messages or images that contain sexual material without consent. Veronica Musaka, researcher at the University of Cape Town, notes that “the students’ understandings of sexual harassment were narrow and excluded a range of abuse that they experience.”9


    Overall, these solutions cannot be summarized better by Prof. Jurenas, from the Bowling Green State University. He suggested in his journal article punished on American Secondary Education that to defend against sexual harassment, we need “1. A working definition of sexual harassment. 2. Define and give examples of unacceptable behaviors and likely punishments. 3. Develop a grievance policy and procedure for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment to insure confidentiality and an effective investigation of the complaint (not following the chain of command since the harasser may be the victim’s supervisor). 4. Ensure that everyone (students, teachers, supervisors, administrators, school board, and parents) knows of the policy and procedures. 5. Be strict in enforcement.” 10


    In evaluation of all the sources utilized in this section, it is clear that our first two hypothesis are supported by practical findings from surveys involving large samples (6592 from the GSEC Study, 1731 from the University survey.) They also have high reliability and validity as the surveys were standardized and directly measures what is investigated – for example, the prevalence of sexual harassment and the lack of appropriate response. However, as they are largely based on self-reports, some respondents may not be entirely truthful. Furthermore, they did not make a distinction between the severity of cases. Thus, some of those who did not report the incidents may have been because the cases were in fact too insignificant to warrant a report or serious punishment. To make up for this flaw, in our own research, we collected not only quantitative data but also did in-depth qualitative interviews to fully understand the reasons why victims did not report their cases.





    3.[Wei, Tingting. "A Report On Sexual Harassment On Chinese College Campuses". Chinesefeminism.Org, 2016, https://chinesefeminism.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/e9ab98e6a0a1e680a7e9aa9ae689b0e68aa5e5918a2be58d95e9a1b5.pdf.]

    4.[ Louise F. Fitzgerald, Michele J. Gelfand & Fritz Drasgow (1995) Measuring Sexual Harassment: Theoretical and Psychometric Advances, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 17:4, 425-445, DOI: 10.1207/s15324834basp1704_2]

    5.[ "2018 Nanjing University Sexual Harassment Report". Cnlgbtdata.Com, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20210801155652/https://cnlgbtdata.com/files/uploads/2019/08/2018_%E5%B9%B4%E5%8D%97%E4%BA%AC%E5%A4%A7%E5%AD%A6%E6%80%A7%E9%AA%9A%E6%89%B0%E7%8A%B6%E5%86%B5%E8%B0%83%E6%9F%A5%E6%8A%A5%E5%91%8A.pdf.]

    6.[ "Ju Bao Fo Shan Yi Zhong Lao Shi Xing Sao Rao Dang Shi Ren". Bjnews.Com.Cn, 2021,https://www.bjnews.com.cn/detail/161789190815007.html.
    HLAVKA, HEATHER R. “NORMALIZING SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse.” Gender and Society, vol. 28, no. 3, Sage Publications, Inc., 2014, pp. 337–58, http://www.jstor.org/stable/43669888.]

    7.[ HLAVKA, HEATHER R. “NORMALIZING SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse.” Gender and Society, vol. 28, no. 3, Sage Publications, Inc., 2014, pp. 337–58, http://www.jstor.org/stable/43669888.]

    8.Stone, Marilyn, and Sue Couch. “Peer Sexual Harassment among High School Students: Teachers’ Attitudes, Perceptions, and Responses.” The High School Journal, vol. 88, no. 1, University of North Carolina Press, 2004, pp. 1–13, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40364273.

    9.[ Veronica Mukasa. “Talking about Sexual Harassment in School.” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity, no. 41, [Agenda Feminist Media, Taylor & Francis, Ltd.], 1999, pp. 58–60, https://doi.org/10.2307/4066199.]

    10.[ Jurenas, Albert C. “Sexual Harassment and Schools.” American Secondary Education, vol. 17, no. 2, Dwight Schar College of Education, Ashland University, 1988, pp. 25–27, http://www.jstor.org/stable/41063873.]

  • 3. Research Methods

    We used both quantitative - a survey - and qualitative research - an interview - during our research. In this way we hope to obtain both the large-picture statistics and nuances during the sexual harassment.

    3.1 Survey

    We designed a structured questionnaire focused on four studied areas using WJX.cn survey system (Wenjuan Xing). The survey includes four sections: the first is about the demographic information of respondents; the second is on definition of sexual harassment; the third contains three questions regarding respondents’ experience and knowledge of sexual harassment incidents in their schools; finally the supportive resources for victims are investigated in the last section.


    The questionnaire was designed by two of our group members and piloted by the rest of the group. We then made comments on, analyzed, and adjusted the questionnaire to create the final revised version of the questionnaire. At the beginning of the survey, we explain clearly the purpose of our research to provide an institutional solutions for sexual harassment at school.


    In total, we received 296 responses within a week, with 100% of them being statistically valid. The respondents were voluntarily recruited via e-posters, and the questionnaire was allocated and completed online. All the respondents were middle school and high school students from schools in China, with a general age-range of 12 to 19. Among the respondents, there is a diverse gender identification and sexual orientation (Fig 1 and 2). Plus, according to Fig 3, there are more respondents from high schools than from middle schools.


    3.2 Interview

    We also conducted semi-structured interviews with people who have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, including three sections: the description of sexual harassment cases that interviewee has witnessed or experienced; the immediate and long-term response, if any, taken by the victims and the school; and the interviewee’s suggestions on the institutional solutions needed for sexual harassment cases. Other than these three key sections of questions, interviewers will also ask some questions depending on the interviewees’ response.


    We recruit interviewees through the survey, which includes an optional question to let people willing to be interviewed leave their contact information. In total, interviewed 21 participants. Among them, 13 of them have been sexually harassed before (and most of them have witnessed other cases of sexual harassment at school); 5 of them have witnessed cases of sexual harassment at school; 1 of them acknowledged sexually harassing others before and 2 of them denies any occurrence of sexual harassment on them.


    The form of interview, be it WeChat call or typing, accords to the interviewee’s preference. During an interview, the interviewee is informed of the purpose of our project, the possible questions (as a trigger warning) and the possible usage of this result. We record the interview process to get the transcript only when consent is given, or else interviewers will take notes.


    After all interviews are finished, our team analyze the transcripts and notes of the interview by dividing the interview into 4 different sections: on cases, response, suggestions or others. We then identify different themes under each section to analyze their implication.

    Figure 1: Gender identification of the sample group

    Figure 2: Sexual orientation of the sample group

    Figure 3: Age group of the sample group

  • 4. Research Analysis

    4.1 Survey

    Research Question 1: instances of sexual harassment
    1.Frequency of sexual harassment
    In the survey, it is found that 32.43% of people had experienced sexual harassment in school. Among these victims, 8.3% of people have been sexually harassed for 3 to 5 times; 4.16% has been sexually harassed for a staggering number of six or more times; around 10% prefer not to tell the amount to instances.


    Thus, on average, amount of sexual harassment experienced by each student can be calculated:

    This means, between three students, at least two of them have experienced sexual harassment at school, verifying our first hypothesis that sexual harassment is a prevalent problem awaiting to be solved in Chinese high schools.

    Figure 4: percentage of people who have experienced sexual harassment

    2. Victims of sexual harassment
    A chi square test shows that gender identification is significantly related to the instances of sexual harassment experienced by respondents (P value=0.00), whereas gender
    orientation (P value=1.24) and age (P value=1.09) have unclear relationship with occurrence of sexual harassment. This indicates females are more likely to be victimized at school in sexual harassment, while sexual harassment could happen to students from any grade with any sexual orientation. It’s worth emphasizing that out of 53 male respondents, there are 4 males claimed to be sexually harassed. Hence, male victims shall not be overlooked. Also, 30.0% of respondents identified sexual harassment cases in which victims are the LGBTQ+ community. Considering the insignificant relationship between sexual orientation and instances of sexual harassment, we hypothesize that transgender students are more vulnerable in the school in terms of sexual harassment.

    Research Question 2: improper settlement of the cases and its reasons
    1. Lack of institutional support

    Moreover, it is found that 57.1% of the people don’t know and not sure about channels to seek help from in schools. Similarly, the majority of the survey respondents (53.5%) are also unaware of the ways to find mental, law, or medical supports after experiencing sexual harassment. This proves our second hypothesis, which purports that sexual harassment in schools are poorly tackled in terms of providing resources or channels for victims to seek help from.


    However, in comparison to the in-school case, the respondents show a slight increase of knowledge, which is probably a result of the systematic anti-sexual harassment supports outside of the school. It can also be seen that less people are uncertain of the ways to seek helps. Since there is a lack of documentation and clearly listed guidelines for sexual harassment cases, it is more likely for the respondents in school to get confused about the procedure of reporting a sexual harassment case.

    Figure 5: percentage of people knowing how to seek help in cases of sexual harassment

    2. Lack of awareness

    2.1 Lack of education

    The results show that 75% of the respondents did not receive proper sex education or anti-sexual harassment training. Some have responded that they have received education at school through “life skill lessons”, which is relatively rare. Even for schools with these education, the relationship between education and occurrence of sexual harassment cases is still insignificant (P value=0.234), indicating the insufficiency of current educational system. These collectively prove the insufficient education provided in school.

    Figure 6: percentage of people receiving education on harassment in schoo

    Most of the respondents indicated that they received information about sexual harassment via social media and internet research (81.42%; 57.43%), while comparatively few indicated that they have learned from parents (33.45%). Notably, 11 out of total 296 respondents indicated that they have never learned anything about sexual harassment before. Considering the fallibility of information in the social media and internet research, we consider this data to exacerbate further the lack of education problem. Also, few parents teaching teenagers knowledge related to sexual harassment indicate a conservative social culture that obstructs discussion around sex. This adds difficulty to solving sexual harassment at schools.

    Figure 7: platforms from which people learn about sexual harassment

    2.2 Lack of awareness of sexual harassment

    Furthermore, the occurrence of sexual harassment is likely worsened by victims’ reluctance in informing others about their cases, making it hard to be handled and prevented. It is found that 41.9% of the respondents have no knowledge of sexual harassment cases that happened in their schools, contrasting with the preceding data that shows at least two in three high schoolers had been sexually harassed one time.

    Figure 8: percentage of people who have heard of other peoples cases

    2.3 Lack of knowledge on sexual harassment

    To test the tendency in respondents’ general understanding of the investigated issue, we asked the respondents to select one from three sentences that they considered as the only definition of sexual harassment. From the result, it is noticeable that the respondents put an emphasis on victims’ perspective instead of harassers’.
    In addition, a space was provided for the respondents to fill in sensible definition other than the aforementioned three. 53.45% of the respondents filled in the blank. 31.23% of them mentioned valid quotes, including “forced action/interaction”, “no consent”, “with sexual nature”, and “cause discomfort”, which proves that at least a small percentage of students have already got a basic understanding of sexual harassment.


    However, only 3 out of 396 respondents recognized the fact that “multiple components” should be taken into consideration for identification of sexual harassment incident. The complexity and variability of sexual harassment scenarios and situations determined that sexual harassment can never be defined with only a few sentences. The fact that such crucial information was only noticed by such few respondents proves the lack of proper sexual-harassment-related education provided to students as hypothesized. This could further indicate that most students are unaware of the proper definition of sexual harassment, and therefore, would fail or have failed to recognize sexual harassment incidents they encounter or have encountered personally.

    Figure 9: Identified definition of sexual harassmentby the sample group

    Research Question 3: Solutions


    More than half of respondents recognize the significance of resources support as solutions. The vast majority of respondents (87.16%) preferred the schools to provide ‘legal support’, followed by ‘psychological counseling’ (79.73%) and ‘medical support’ (65.88%).


    Also, the majority of respondents consider it to be significant for the school to include institutions against sexual harassment: it should have ‘a set of graded punishment to harassers’ (72.97%); it shall ‘protect victims from encountering their harassers if necessary’ (65.88%) to stop the victims from being exposed to traumatic memories or harassed again. It is worth noticing that more respondents preferred to have an investigation committee made up of students and teachers (60.14%) instead of teachers only (29.39%). This could be because of students tend to feel more relaxed when talking to their peers compared to adults. In addition, although most cases occur between students and students, there are cases of sexual harassment that involve teachers or other adult staffs from schools. In this case, it would be more reasonable to have the victim talk to a student instead of to a teacher.

    According to the chi-square test, respondents from schools with mechanism to tackle sexual harassment cases are less likely to suffer from sexual harassment, and this relationship is significant (P value=0.05). This shows an effective institution against sexual harassment at school is an essential to solve the problems.

    Figure 10: proposed solutions by the sample

    4.2 Interview

    Form: verbal or physical

    According to intervieweesresponse, verbal harassment takes various forms. It may include making disrespectful jokes about and commenting on femalesbreasts and hips (e.g. Saying someones breast is too big or too flat), harassing female classmates with sex-related dreams, and spreading rumors about nonexistent relationships and sexual intercourse. Also, physical harassment usually includes stalking, intruding female bathroom and attack on femalesprivate body parts such as breasts, vagina, hips, waist and hands. Interviewee B reported that she had saw her male classmate put his fingers into one of her female classmates vagina during swimming class. Similarly, interviewee D reported that her male classmates had put his hands in her pant. Moreover, physical harassment includes forcing someone to have sexual intercourse. This could happen both in a relationship and outside a relationship according to intervieweesresponses.

    Power of the harasser and the victim: equal or unequal

    In the cases reported by the interviewees, most harassment cases were taken place between classmates. In such cases, it can be summarized that the harasser and the victim was in balanced power relations. There are some nuanced identities of parties involved. Interviewee K mentions a boy with autism continuously harassing the girl he likes. Interviewee I mentions she, being relatively fat, was humiliated if she expressed being sexually harassed, as only beautiful girls will be sexually harassed. These nuances require a comprehensive scheme to tackle with.


    However, it should be noted that the case reported by interviewee E was taken place between a male teacher and a female student, and the case reported by interviewee T was taken place between a male coach and a female student. These sexual harassment cases may constitute the "quid pro quo" category: it involves an exchange of sexual favors to something, initiated by the one in power at school. In these scenario, the power imbalance existing may allow the case continue to happen without notice from the school. The victims, terrified by the power relation, may be less likely to report if they are unsure about the support they will get.

    Setting: offline or online

    All 20 interviewees mentioned cases happening offline. However, it should be noted that online harassment were also widespread. Among the 20 interviewees, 7 interviewee (interviewee E, G, K, P, R, T, U) had reported there were online harassment cases. Online harassment can take place in various media such as WeChat group chats, moments, QQ and Weibo. The diverse setting may increase the difficulty involved in the investigation process.

    Frequency: once or multiple times

    Among the cases reported by interviewee, most cases happened only once, but there were about three cases happened for multiple times. For example, according to interviewee E, the case between a male teacher and a female student had lasted for a very long time. It was hard for interview E (a friend of the victim in this case) to specify the exact length of time since the case was not fully investigated. This ambiguity further proves the need for detailed investigation.

    Conclusively, this section shows the existence of sexual harassment in Chinese high schools, and the complication of them.


    Section two. responses

    No response from schools

    For cases which involved verbal harassment and mild physical harassment (e.g. Male student touches female students breasts), there was usually no response from school at all. Also, none of the schools reported by the 20 interviewees had independent institution against sexual harassment.

    Mental support in place for victims

    5 interviewees (D, J, L, N, U) mentioned there were psychological counseling centers in their schools. However, all of them think the counseling was not effective enough for the victims mainly because it is usually hard for victims to make appointments with the therapists due to the poor booking system and few numbers of therapists.


    Psychological counseling centers are perceived as a safe spacefor victims by most of the interviewees. In this case, the lack of effective counseling may reduce the chance for the victims to speak out and reveal the fact that they are harassed as suggested by Interviewee C (victim) I am not sure whether I would report the case because I afraid others (classmates, teachers) might find it(her harassment experience) embarrassing. But if there was a safe space, I think I will be more willing to talk about the harassment experience.

    Disciplinary measures taken against harassers

    Some schools give verbal warnings, referral comments, or punishments to the harasser. However, the tackling process is generally not transparent since many schools try to cover the cases up to prevent stigma as suggested by interviewee R our school had no direct responseI think my school prefers to tackle these things more secretly.Moreover, the punishments given to most harassers were too limited (most were only verbal warning). Interviewee R reported that the general steps in our school are only to criticize the harassers verbally and ask them to apologize. Interviewee L, the only interviewee that acknowledges the schools hard effort to compensate the victim, also comments the school fails to emphasizes with the victim to see what she really needs.


    In conclusion, responses from the school are mostly temporary and fragmented. Few schools include an open, transparent and systematic mechanism, nor a clearly defined disciplinary measure. Due to this, victims continuously suffer from traumas and harassers are not properly educated.


    Section three. Solutions suggested

    Investigation and disciplinary measures

    Among 21 interviewees, 14 of them emphasizes the significance of a formal process of investigation in cases of sexual harassment. 6 of them directly mention that the procedure shall impose strict information confidentiality, because, like Interviewee C explains, No one wants to be known for being sexually harassed, it's a very traumatic history. People, in general, can be insensitive knowingly, or unknowingly.


    8 interviewees point out the need of having a separate committee responsible for the tackling of sexual harassment cases. Specifically, 4 of them point out the need of having a clear protocol and disciplinary measures for different behaviors. As for the component of the committee, Interviewee D states that teachers involved in the case investigation shall be tentatively chosen, as if this teacher will be any of my teachers, I may feel that there will be pressure. Interviewee J even suggested that more students shall be involved into the investigation process, as sometimes we feel that we are more willing to share and talk about it with our classmates than with our parents or teachers.Additionally, Interviewee M and P emphasize the need for equal attention for victims and harassers, and giving harassers chances to explain.


    Support for victims


    Interviewees generally provide 3 solutions to support victimspsychological wellbeing: friendssupport in time, schoolsprovision of professional psychiatrists and a sensitive investigation process. Specifically, Interviewee C mentions that workers [in the committee] should be trained to make people feel safe to talk about their things, and [victims should be involved in the investigation] without other people asking or urging them to.Trust should also established between the institution and every party involved. As Interviewee K mentions, immediate followupof the cases can assure victims and harassers of the reliability of the committee.


    9 interviewees address the significance of education related to sexual harassment. Three types of education is mentioned frequently: on definition of sexual harassment; on means of collecting evidence; on avoiding victim shaming.


    Interviewee A and I mention the need of education of male students specifically. Interviewee A specifies that education shall be for men to get educated on the suffering woman need to go through; Interviewee I refers to the concept of homosocial desire of womenthat may cause the locker-room culturein male studentscommunity, normalizing sexual harassment. Hence education shall target boys that dont like the locker-room culture. We shall tell them that calling out against these actions is nobleencouraging boys that don't like the locker-room culture to call out is useful and can give these people immersed in this mass culture a head blow for reflection.To prove this, after Interviewee Q acknowledges his previous harassment verbally to a girl sometime, he could not remember what he said specifically, neither the reaction of the girl.Thus, some harassers may unintentionally act improperly, and will not realize the problems of their behaviors unless someone reminds them of it.


    Interviewee C highlights the preferable forms of education: it shall be authoritativebut not too seriousso that people would listen.Hence, the cooperation between the school and students is a better way to incorporate authority with creative ways of awareness raising.


    To sum up, solutions suggested come in two perspectives: first, there needs to be an institution with transparent and systematic mechanism, and clearly defined disciplinary measures; second, schools should also conduct effective education.

  • 5.Conclusion


    1.On average, between three students in a China’s high school, at least two of them experienced sexual harassment. Females are more vulnerable in sexual harassment cases.

    2.Most Chinese high schools fail to properly handle sexual harassment cases from 2 perspectives: first, few schools include a platform to conduct thorough research, nor do they provide sufficient resource support for victims and harasser; second, the lack of education results in discrepancy between harasser and victims, while the unfriendly atmosphere additional pressures victims. Two factors combined, victims are less likely to voice out and cases less likely to be solved.

    3.Between the two factors, schools’ institutional changes is proved to have statistical correlation with decreased sexual harassment cases. The most effective solution is to foster institutional changes at school, putting in place a platform for report, investigation and settlement of sexual harassment cases, with clearly defined disciplinary measures. An effective investigative process should also include trained students. Other than that, more comprehensive education is also helpful, especially when it is conducted in a systematic manner officially by schools.


    Limitation and improvements

    The main limitation for our study is the sample size. With 296 response to the survey and 21 interviews, our study doesn’t fully represent every type of Chinese schools, and fails to uncover the nuanced differences between different types of high schools. Meanwhile, there may be already selective bias in our sample group, as those filling in the survey or consenting to interviews may be people that are already interested in gender-related topics. It may result in a positive conclusion of students’ awareness on the issues. Finally, our data falling to incorporate teachers’ views on sexual harassment may limit the perspectives of this study, thereby containing the effectiveness of solutions provided. With larger sample size from different provinces in China and in-depth surveys and interviews with teachers, the result of this paper can be made more comprehensive and reliable.

  • References

    1. Mozes, Alan. "Sexual Assault Has Long-Term Mental, Physical Impact". WebMD, 2018, https://www.webmd.com/women/news/20181003/sexual-assault-has-long-term-mental-physical-impact.
    2.Wei, Tingting. "A Report On Sexual Harassment On Chinese College Campuses". Chinesefeminism.Org, 2016, https://chinesefeminism.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/e9ab98e6a0a1e680a7e9aa9ae689b0e68aa5e5918a2be58d95e9a1b5.pdf.
    3.Louise F. Fitzgerald, Michele J. Gelfand & Fritz Drasgow (1995) Measuring Sexual Harassment: Theoretical and Psychometric Advances, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 17:4, 425-445, DOI: 10.1207/s15324834basp1704_2
    4."2018 Nanjing University Sexual Harassment Report". Cnlgbtdata.Com, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20210801155652/https://cnlgbtdata.com/files/uploads/2019/08/2018_%E5%B9%B4%E5%8D%97%E4%BA%AC%E5%A4%A7%E5%AD%A6%E6%80%A7%E9%AA%9A%E6%89%B0%E7%8A%B6%E5%86%B5%E8%B0%83%E6%9F%A5%E6%8A%A5%E5%91%8A.pdf.
    5."Ju Bao Fo Shan Yi Zhong Lao Shi Xing Sao Rao Dang Shi Ren". Bjnews.Com.Cn, 2021,https://www.bjnews.com.cn/detail/161789190815007.html.
    6.HLAVKA, HEATHER R. “NORMALIZING SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse.” Gender and Society, vol. 28, no. 3, Sage Publications, Inc., 2014, pp. 337–58, http://www.jstor.org/stable/43669888.
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  • Appendix

    Survey statistic

    The data tabulation and p-value calculus in the chi-square test are done in Stata.
    1.1 Genderidentification

    1.2 Sexual Orientation

    1.3 Grade

    1.4 Definition of sexual harassment understood by respondents

    1.5 Amount of instances of sexual harassment experienced by respondents at school

    P.S. the fifth line: I experienced sexual harassment before, but I prefer not to tell/don’t remember the specific amount of instances; the sixth line: I never experience any sexual harassment

    1.6 Amount of instances of sexual harassment witnessed/heard by respondents at school

    1.7 Amount of instances of sexual harassment against minority recognized by respondents at school

    P.S. the fifth line: I have heard of sexual harassment against LGBTQ+ group before, but I prefer not to tell/don’t remember the specific amount of instances; the sixth line: I never experience any sexual harassment against LGBTQ+ group

    1.8 Existing mechanism against sexual harassment at school recognized by respondents at school

    1.9 Resource (psychological, medical, legal) at school recognized by the respondents

    1.10 Resource (psychological, medical, legal) outside of school recognized by the respondents

    1.11 Education related to sexual harassment recognized by respondents at school

    2. Details of chi-square tests


    2.1 Relationship between gender identification and amount of sexual harassment experienced: significant


    P.S. first column: cisgender female; second column: cisgender male; third column: non-binary; fourth column: prefer not to tell; fifth column: transgender female; mixed column: transgender male


    2.2 Relationship between sexual orientation and amount of sexual harassment experienced: not significant

    P.S. first column: Bisexual (including pansexual); second column: heterosexual; third column: homosexual; fourth column: other; fifth column: prefer not to tell

    2.3 Relationship between grade and amount of sexual harassment experienced: not significant

    2.4 Relationship between mechanism taken at school and harassment experienced: significant
    P.S. first column: I am not sure

    2.5 Relationship between education related to sexual harassment at school and harassment experienced: insignificant

    3. Interview transcript

    The following transcripts is written according to the recording of each individual interview, which is consented by all interviewees. For interviewees unwilling to be recorded, interviewers took notes during the interviews. All transcripts and notes are consented again by all interviewees to be put into our reports, who are informed of the purpose of our project and report.


    All 21 interviewees are given a character from A to U to signify their identity. Information confidentiality is kept strictly in the following transcripts. Any sentences containing names of the school, interviewees or anyone associated with the interviewees are substituted with other labels.


    Original interviews are done in Chinese, and transcripts are translated into English. Both the original transcript and the translated version are stored.
    The interview transcript is around 45,000 words, thus, to make our research paper less bulky, we include all 21 transcripts (and notes) to the following link: