HarlequinTEEN, in partnership with the Jed Foundation’s Love Is Louder movement, has released the findings of a new survey that indicates 70 percent of young women between the ages of 16 and 21 have been bullied, and 78 percent of those surveyed believe that bullying is a more serious problem than parents and adults realize.

Other key findings of the survey include:

58% of respondents ranked emotional bullying (spreading rumors, shunning/ignoring others) as the most hurtful form of bullying.

38% of surveyed women who have been bullied also bullied someone else, while 86% of respondents who self-identify as bullies have also been victims of bullying.

75% of those surveyed say they are bullied about some aspect of physical appearance: weight, clothing, hair, overall looks.

35% of teens turn to books and reading to cope with bullying.

The survey was conducted online during August and September with 1504 young women (ages 16-21) responding and was inspired by the September HarlequinTEEN novel Speechless by Hannah Harrington, in which a girl’s gossiping words become the catalyst for a hate crime. Harlequin has included a discussion guide in Speechless to provoke conversation about bullying and the effect one’s words and actions can have. In addition, Harlequin has teamed with Love Is Louder (a movement that supports teens or young adults who feel mistreated or hopeless) to create a book party guide to encourage teens to get together to discuss Speechless and use it as the jumping-off point for positive action.

For more information on other new books on bullying and some publishers’ anti-bullying efforts, see our feature in the October 22 issue of Publishers Weekly.