Sex bullying is a rising problem that affects everyone, but is most frequent among young people. A lack of action could lead to more serious situations like sexual harassment or even sexual assault if left untreated. In this article, you will learn more about why children engage in sexual bullying.
As a general type of bullying, sexual bullying happens when a person or group of people harass another with sexually motivated statements and behaviors. Furthermore, it is possible for someone to be sexually harassed both online and in person.
It is not uncommon for a tween or adolescent who has been the victim of sexual bullying to be subjected to various forms of harassment and abuse. Because it usually does not leave a visible mark, sexual bullying is more difficult to detect than physical bullying.
It’s crucial for educators and parents to talk to their children about what is and isn’t acceptable behavior when it comes to sexually bullying other children. Teens who have been subjected to sexual bullying require numerous opportunities to express their feelings. Listen carefully and with patience. A young person’s experience with sexual bullying can be extremely distressing and humiliating.
According to a Stop Street Harassment survey, many young people who have been sexually harassed or bullied do not report it to anybody. Despite this, these kinds of events are common. In reality, 81% of women and 43% of men report they have been harassed or assaulted because of their gender.
The same Harvard survey indicated that 87% of respondents aged 18 to 25 had experienced sexual harassment at some point in their lives. Catcalling was reported by 55% of those polled, sexual comments were made by 52%, and unwanted physical contact was reported by 41% of those surveyed.
Despite the #MeToo movement’s encouragement, there is still a propensity among young people to keep quiet about their experiences because of shame and humiliation. In addition to being aware of the problem, educators and parents should have a conversation about the significance of treating others with respect.
The term “inappropriate” is used to describe pictures, jokes, language, and remarks that are sexual in nature. Consequently, sexual bullying or harassment is defined as behavior that is sexual in origin and causes undue distress, humiliation, or fear in the person being harassed. The following behaviors and words are examples of sexual bullying:
- Sexy and nasty names directed towards another person.
- Sending obscene or pornographic text messages or images via text message or email.
- Sex-based cyberbullying, such as calling attention to the victim’s sexuality in public.
- Intentionally touching or rubbing against another person’s skin in a sexual manner.
- Making sexual comments or offers on behalf of someone else online.
- Making sexist or homophobic remarks regarding another person’s sexual orientation or behavior
- Making sexually suggestive motions toward another person.
- Inappropriately joking or commenting on someone’s sexuality.
- Involvement in catcalling or harassing someone.
- Using social media networks like Instagram or Snapchat to post sexually explicit images, remarks, or videos.
- “Sexting” is the practice of sending or encouraging others to send sexually explicit text messages and images via text messaging, also known as sexting.
- Sharing sexually explicit videos or images.
- Disseminating sexual rumors or gossip, whether in person, over the phone, or online.
- A sexually explicit act of gripping, pinching, or interacting with another person.
- Making sexually explicit remarks about another person in public, whether on a blog or in a restroom stall.
Why Do Children Sexually Bully Others?
Kids engage in sexual bullying for a variety of reasons. Among the most common reasons cited are a desire for social prestige, a need for attention, and a fear of developing sexuality. Sexual bullying is motivated by a variety of circumstances.
Feel Like a Force
When children feel weak or powerless, they may engage in sexual bullying of others. There are situations when a child acts out because he or she has been sexually harassed or tormented. They seek others who are weaker than themselves to recover some sense of power over their own life.
Taking these acts allows them to feel powerful and in charge of their own lives. As a result, some youngsters would sexually bully others based on their own biases and prejudices.
Appear To Be Mature Sexually.
Adolescents are very self-conscious about their appearance and what their peers think of them. Being accepted and mature is the goal. Due to peer pressure and demands from cliques, they are more likely to succumb to them.
As a means of gaining approval from their peers, many teenagers engage in sexual bullying of others. Alternatively, they may focus on bullying others by calling them sexually explicit names in an attempt to lower their social standing.
Those who engage in sexual bullying often do it to gain advantage over their victims by making up stories, spreading rumors, or divulging personal information about the victims. By spreading rumors and gossip, exposing secrets, or recounting stories, mean girls can sexually bully others. When they know something others don’t, they attract a lot of attention for it. They get their energy from the suffering of others.
In many cases, sexual bullying is an attempt to mask feelings of inadequacy and a lack of self-worth. Insecure about one’s own body or sexuality, a bully may attack others before he or she has a chance to attack himself or herself.
Cut out the Rivalry
Many teenagers will sexually bully others because they are jealous of their success. They may think the person is sexier, smarter, or popular. Whatsoever the cause is, kids aim to make someone else less appealing. Sexual secrets and rumors regarding a person’s sexual activities are examples of relational violence of this type.
Follow in the Footsteps of Others
Because of what they observe others doing, some children will engage in sexual bullying. In addition to the adults in their lives, they may be influenced by everything from reality television to movies and music. It doesn’t matter what kind of reality show, a friend, or a family member they watch, young people tend to follow what they see.
How to Prevent Sexism in the Workplace
Even though young people rarely bring up the topic of sexual bullying, it is all too often in school corridors and classrooms, in movies and music they listen to, and on college campuses.
All ages are affected, not just those who work in an office or walk down the street. These are difficulties that young people deal with regularly.
To prevent sexual harassment and even sexual assault, parents and educators must work to create a climate where sexual bullying is viewed as unacceptable and disrespectful. Preventing sexual bullying can be accomplished in many ways.
Define The Issue At Hand.
A Make Caring Common Project poll found that more than 75% of the participants had never discussed sexual harassment with their parents. When defining sexual harassment, sexual bullying, and misogyny in children’s minds, parents and educators should begin by questioning the children themselves.
Once you’ve done that, you can contribute to the definition in its entirety. Don’t talk down to them; make sure they know what is and isn’t proper. Remember that most youngsters are more tuned in than they let on, so address the subject with respect.
Ensure The Safety Of Those Who Make Disclosures.
Because sexual harassment and bullying are so common among teenagers, it is generally kept quiet. When this occurs, the condition only worsens. Children rely on others to remain silent or do nothing in response to their misbehavior.
Allow children a variety of safe methods for reporting abuse. For example, if students wish, they can report anything anonymously, including teachers who cross the line. Listen attentively and empathize if they’re brave enough to come right out and say it. The most important thing is to trust them and take what they say seriously.
Build Self-Esteem and Self-Worth
Teens who rely on romantic connections and peer approval for their sense of self-worth and value may be especially prone to sexual bullying and harassment. Because of this, parents and educators must give teens appropriate ways to boost their self-esteem.
It’s critical to bring up the topic of sexual bullying with your children. To prevent sexual assault, children must be taught not simply the basics of personal safety, such as how and when to speak up.
Don’t forget to instill in your children an understanding of the concept of consent and the dangers of keeping secrets. When you talk to your children daily, you take the first step in protecting them and reducing the stigma around sexual bullying.