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Girls coping with sexual harassment issues in a high school in Maseru, Lesotho.

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Date

2002

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Abstract

This study attempts to broaden the knowledge and understanding of issues of sexual harassment experienced by girls in a high school in Lesotho. It does this by focussing on Form D girls in one high school in Maseru, here referred as Fora High School; and consequently how they cope with it. The study locates itself as concerned with gender justice. It assumes that it constitutes a discursive position that contrasts and opposes dominant patriarchal discourses. It sets out also to establish to what extent sexual harassment occurred and how it was perceived by those that experience it. It is a qualitative study that employs narratives and observation as the research methods. To achieve this, a module that introduced concepts of sexuality and sexual harassment preceded the data collection. Although the study was confined to Form D girls and did not include all the girls in this school, findings reveal that girls in this class experienced and observed sexual harassment in this school and more specifically in the classroom than anywhere else. Teachers were the major perpetrators of sexual harassment. Studying the narratives presented as data, physical harassment was the most frequently reported form of harassment. When such behaviours are reported, teachers ignore it and this suggests that they 'normalise' sexual harassment and thus reinforce dominant patriarchal discourses of hegemonic masculinity. Based on the participants' narratives and also arguing from the discursive position of gender justice, recommendations are suggested for this school and others to introduce sexuality and sex education in an attempt to make schools more equitable places for girls. It proposes that educational policies and curricular development more generally be revisited and to ensure that they are addressing sexuality education and therefore sexual violence particularly.

Description

Thesis (M.Ed.) - University of Natal, Durban, 2002.

Keywords

Theses--Education., Girls--Education (Secondary)--Lesotho., Sexual harassment in education--Lesotho., Gender identity in education--Lesotho.

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