BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Children are being sexually assaulted by their peers at school more often than we like to admit. That's according to a newly released report by the Associated Press.
The AP found that there were 17,000 reports of sexual assaults by other students over a four year period, from 2011 to 2015. That's the official reports. Experts predict the actual number to be much higher.
"Students that have been attacked don't come forward for a lot of reasons. They're embarrassed, or they are afraid they won't be believed. Schools are hesitant to even bring up the subject for fear of tarnishing their reputation," said Joel Levin with the advocacy organization Stop Sexual Assault in Schools.
Contrary to popular belief, it's far more likely that a student is going to be sexually assaulted by his peers than by a teacher.
"Researchers, national gender equity organizations, and the CDC have provided considerable data to demonstrate how sexual harassment and assault negatively impact K-12 students. Yet the public remains in the dark because these violations are underreported by students, who have been forced to normalize sexual harassment, and by schools guarding their reputations. It's not surprising that national studies show a glaring discrepancy between the small number of schools reporting incidents of sexual harassment and the large number of students saying they experience it," said Esther Warkov, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools Executive Director.
To learn more about this crime and even ways to prevent it you can visit http://stopsexualassaultinschools.org/