Bristol news Sexual harassment 'very common' among school children PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - The charity says girls in Bristol schools say they are regularly pressured into sending nude images
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A Bristol charity that delivers workshops in schools around gender and racial inequality said that they are concerned over the “normalisation” of sexual harassment and “toxic” relationships among young people. Fahma Mohamed who began volunteering with Integrate UK as a secondary school student at City Academy in Easton, made a name for herself when she became the face of a Guardian backed campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), resulting in compulsory training over the issue which had previously been a taboo subject. Ms Mohamed is now 26 and working with the organisation on its two latest projects around coercive control and sexual harassment. Since the pandemic, the work has become more challenging and the demand for support services has risen, she told Bristol Live. Last year Ofsted launched a review into sexual abuse in schools and colleges and found that 90 per cent of girls they interviewed had experience of sexist name calling and 80 per cent had been pressured to provide sexual images of themselves. Ms Mohamed said that when delivering workshops in Bristol schools over the last year she found that girls getting pressured into sending nude images of themselves had become normal. READ MORE: Bristol author shines a light on mental illness in new novel One child told her that when a boy she liked asked her for a nude image she would make an excuse because she felt unable to say no. Another who spoke to Ms Mohamed said that nudes are shared a lot around schools. Alongside sexual harassment is the prevalence of controlling relationships, something that is more common among young people than might have previously been assumed, also heightened by social media. Ms Mohamed said: “Asking for nudes has become a huge issue and then pressuring or threatening girls when they don’t comply has become very common. We’ve had young girls tell us how they’ve said no and then they get pressured even more. “It could be in the form of compliments, with the boy saying they really like them and insinuating that they’d stop feeling that way if they didn’t get those nudes. In other cases they could use it to blackmail them, create a rumour or they get really mad. “When I go into schools to have these discussions, they are quick to give me examples, how common it is just completely baffles me. I think social media has made it a lot worse. “Before you could get sexually harassed in person whether it be verbally or physically but now there’s the avenue of being sexually harassed online which doesn’t help. It’s hard to see when it’s happening on their phones or outside of school.” Fahma Mohamed was awarded an honorary degree from Bristol University when she was just 19. The doctorate of Law was in recognition of her activism and fight for policy changes. (Image: Intergrate UK) All the workshops and training videos produced by the charity are informed by the children and young people themselves with over 70 per cent of those that volunteer having lived experience of the topics covered. The idea is not only to help the schools deal with these challenges and give young people the tools to recognize and report incidents but has also helped to build the confidence of the young people in Bristol who volunteer with the charity and inform the training materials. During the lockdown the UK saw an increase in domestic abuse reports with 16 domestic abuse killings of women and children during the first three weeks of the lockdown.
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. Ms Mohamed said: “When we held the workshops, we had conversations about real life lived experiences and the examples they’d seen. A lot of them pointed out controlling behaviours being seen as romantic. “If he’s texting you a lot, bombarding you a lot, it might just seem that he’s really into you or that he really cares about you. A lot of young people think it’s perfectly normal for a partner to have your passwords to your social media accounts. “I thought it was just Snapchat where you can see the location of your friends but now there’s this new app that everyone’s using that not only shares the location but tells you the percentage of their battery, I just thought that was insane but it’s very popular. Things like that are so normalised.” A study from the Avon Foundation found that 40 percent of girls aged between 16 and 21 thought that coercion and control had become normalised due to unhealthy portrayals in the media. 56 per cent of those in the study said they had experienced abuse themselves and a third of those surveyed said that it was difficult for them to tell the difference between caring and controlling actions.
Intergrate Uk at the Premiere of Switched. An educational recourse produced by the charity as part of a campaign to end FGM. (Image: Intergrate UK) For Ms Mohamed, she remembers watching the Twilight Saga as a teenager which she can see now as a glorification of an abusive relationship. She believes that the romanticisation of such relationships in shows that target young people has not helped. The charity is now finding that there is an increasing demand for its services, not only in schools who would like help in tackling incidents of sexual harassment or racism but also among the young people to come to the charity for support. New funding which has been provided by Rosa UK will support Integrate UK, alongside 25 other charities to maintain and expand on their existing work. Integrate UK CEO, Lisa Zinnerman said: The new funding will help to strengthen organisation. Like a lot of charities we’ve had a marked increase since the pandemic, about three-fold actually. Resources haven’t increased with demand. We’ve had a lot more complex cases.” Twenty-five frontline organisations addressing Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) in the UK have been selected to receive one-year grants of up to £25,000. The fund supports organisational development work and will ensure organisations are in a stronger position to survive, thrive and grow in the future. Please see Rosa Uk for more information READ NEXT: Seven more Bristol buildings could be renamed due to slave links Mates will walk across Clifton bridge all day and night Bristol pub sends stark message to FIFA over Qatar human rights abuses Bristol prepares for a tough winter as the UK faces the biggest fall in living standards on record Bristol’s underfunded nurseries at 'crisis' point as costs surge and staff are cut
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