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The Petition:

What You Need to Know About Bullying and Sexual Harassment 

Introduction

Bullying and sexual harassment are common ways that perpetrators use to harm their victims through manipulation, unwanted touching, violence and threats of violence. But although sexual harassment is classified as a type of bullying, bullying doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual in nature. This post will discuss more about the forms of bullying and sexual harassment. Keep reading to discover how you can prevent them from happening to you, and how you can teach your children and other people not to become bullies.

What is Bullying?

To better understand the issue at hand, we must understand the meaning of bullying. Bullying can be described as a set of behaviors that are aggressive and unwanted, and they often happen among school-aged children. However, it can happen to older adults as well – in this case, it is referred to as harassment, either sexual or otherwise.

Typically, bullying involves two distinct traits that define it and make it a recurring problem. First, bullying involves a perceived or real power imbalance. Second, this behavior is repeated often or has the likelihood to be repeated over time on the same victims. Therefore, bullying can lead to long-term grave mental health issues for both the bullied victims and the bully himself or herself.

Although teachers, parents as well as other adults are aware that children can be mean to each other, say hurtful words to another person and hit occasionally out of frustration and anger, this behavior is regarded as bullying if the child is older than the other or is stronger physically as compared to the other.

Primary Types of Bullying

Bullying usually takes three forms namely:

  • Verbal bullying – This involves name-calling, teasing, making threats as well as inappropriate sexual comments (this later becomes sexual harassment).
  • Physical bullying – This involves hitting, punching, tripping, spitting, breaking or taking items belonging to another person. Rude hand gestures are also classified as acts of physical bullying.
  • Social bullying – The present era of social media has seen more teens and pre-teens gain consistent access to it than ever before; thus, it has become among the most prevalent forms of bullying. To the parents or teachers, it can be hard to monitor them because teens and children tend to be more secretive with their social media activities.

With social media, people can share anonymous rumors regarding a particular person, send harassing messages, call names, post unwanted photos of an individual, and the like. Moreover, leaving out children intentionally is also considered to be part of social media. It can also include informing classmates not to hand out or speak to a particular person, spreading false rumors and making embarrassing comments regarding them.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Although it’s still a type of bullying, sexual harassment often happens to adults and teens. It involves non-consensual flirting, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors. Sexual harassment also involves other physical or verbal harassments that are sexual.

Just like with other forms of bullying, power-play typically plays a significant role in sexual harassment – employers harassing employees sexually, teachers to students, and so on. Power dynamics are the main reason why a perpetrator sexually harasses their victim – just to feel powerful.

Ways of Preventing Bullying and Sexual Harassment

For teens and children, here are some effective ways of preventing bullying and sexual harassment:

  1. Understand body autonomy. Avoid touching people without their consent and don’t allow anyone to touch you without your consent.
  2. No means no, and there are no exceptions.
  3. Often stay around adults because many acts of bullying take place in the absence of adults.
  4. If you’ve bullied a person before, you should apologize to them. Everybody will feel better.
  5. Always keep in mind that people are different – some are born with mental or physical differences. This shouldn’t be a reason for bullying someone or pointing out those differences in a cruel manner.
  6. If you get angry at an individual, make sure you talk to them or find an adult, teacher or parent to help mediate your disagreement.
  7. If you feel like you’re being bullied or notice it being done on someone else, inform a parent or teacher immediately.
  8. Avoid going to places where bullying takes place.
  9. If it seems right to do so, you can laugh off the bully or tell them to leave you alone in a calm voice.
  10. If the bully looks dangerous, just walk away and talk to an adult.

The most effective way of preventing bullying is teaching your children the concepts of body autonomy and consent as well as kindness and empathy. Some studies show that when children make friends with the “secluded” students (who are often bullied), the number of bullied kids can significantly plummet.

Sources

  1. eeoc.gov
  2. stopbullying.gov
  3. rainn.org
  4. huffingtonpost.com
  5. psychologytoday.com

1 Comment

  • Lynn
    Posted May 10, 2022 10:47 pm 0Likes

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