Sexual Bullying

I can’t believe I’ve never written about this before, it’s something that I feel very strongly about and yet I’ve never actually posted anything about it on here.

Sexual bullying is any bullying behaviour, whether physical or not that is based on someone’s sexuality or gender. It can be done behind their back, to their face or via technology. This can include groping, unwanted touching or being forced to perform sexual acts against your will.

In a survey of 273 young people aged 11-19 40 had experienced unwanted touching, 28 had been forced to do something sexual and 31 had watched it happen to someone else.

Most of this behaviour is performed by boys towards girls, but this is by no means a one way street.

I don’t think that sexual bullying is anything ‘new’, I just think that in the last few years we’ve started to recognise it. This is something that has been going on for years and years, it just hasn’t been talked about it before.

I was sexually bullied- well, there’s no point beating around the bush- they bullied me relentlessly for months, feeling me up underneath the desk, stroking me and using constant degrading sexual language around me. It all came to a head when they sent me a thong for ‘secret santa’ which left me humiliated in front of my classmates.

I was thirteen.

When I went to my head of year and my form tutor it was laughed off as ‘boys being boys’. After this I held myself together for another two weeks before reaching the point where I couldn’t take anymore and I attempted to take my own life.

I don’t think that people know how to deal with sexual bullying, it’s an odd mixture between bullying and sexual assault and seems to be most common amongst teenagers. These factors mean that most of the time no-one knows who or how it should all be dealt with. There are no clear guidelines or advice on how to tackle it, or even how to spot it.

I think that for a lot of people sexual bullying is something that they don’t want to think about. How would you feel if your son or daughter was accused of being sexually bullied? How would you feel if your child came home crying because someone- and not just anyone, not an adult, but another child- was touching them inappropriately?

We live in an increasingly more sexualised culture, and we seem to be proud of this- so why the hell aren’t we extending our openness around sex to being able to talk about and tackle sexual bullying?

I know that you don’t want to believe that this is happening, but it is, and it is ruining people’s lives.

Personally I think that ‘sexual bullying’ is a soft term, it’s a gentle approach being used so as not to scare parents and teachers- to my mind, if someone is touching you in a sexual manner or forcing you to perform sexual acts then that is assault.

This is disgusting and sickening. After what happened to me I then had to spend the next four years in the same building as those boys. Even during my last days at school I would run away from them if I saw them coming towards me.

As usual this kind of thing will only change if every single one of us educates ourselves and has the courage to stand up and point out this behaviour when we see it.

So go on, you’re the first of many.

’til next time,

Wren x

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Sexual Bullying

  1. You’re right, it needs to be dealt with. I’ve got two kids – a 6 y/o stepdaughter and a 2 y/o daughter – and although it’s too early for my daughter since she’s not speaking yet, the wife and I already at work educating her daughter. We tell her that it’s okay to tell kids and adults “no,” and that she’s allowed to push and hit if they don’t listen. We spend a lot of time telling her how she should expect to be treated, too: for example, we tell her that if a boy picks on her it doesn’t mean he likes her – it just means he’s picking on her and he’s being mean (bullying =/= flirting). As a father I also try to emulate the sort of man I’d like my step-daughter to seek later in life – from what I’ve read, children watch how their parents treat each other and this influences their decisions later regarding the sort of romantic partners they choose. Or so I’m told. But thanks for sharing, I enjoyed it.

    • Thanks for your comment, I think you sound like a brilliant and responsible Father. It’s sad that we need to educate our children about things like this, but it does help- and I completely agree with the bullying =/= flirting, it’s a sad misrepresentation. Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: The Government Wants to Teach Teenagers About Sexual Consent… | The Druid Bird

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