Sexual harassment between same-sex peers: The intersection of mental health, homophobia, and sexual violence in schools

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Publication Date


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Social Work


Adolescents, Educational Environment, Homophobia, Peer Relationship, School Culture, Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Orientation, Social Problems, Violence, Well Being


This article provides a historical and legal framework for defining peer sexual harassment from three different perspectives: sex discrimination, mental health, and sexual violence. Major court decisions that define sexual harassment in both education and the workplace are highlighted, and arguments regarding sexual harassment between peers of the same sex are profiled. This research also identifies sexism and heterosexism as a major social violence problem in U.S. education and argues that peer sexual harassment is sexual violence with considerable mental health implications for both boys and girls. Recommendations for social work practice regarding peer sexual harassment in schools are discussed.