Sesma Against Bullying

Sexual Bullying

It isn’t your FAULT… you didn’t ASK for it!

What is Sexual Bullying?

Sexual harassment and bullying include things like these:

  • Making sexual jokes, comments, homophobic language, or gestures
  • Spreading sexual rumors (in person, by text, or social media)
  • Posting sexual comments, pictures, or videos
  • Taking or sending sexual pictures or videos
  • Asking someone for naked pictures of themselves (“nudes”)
  • Asking for sex or offering to have sex
  • Touching or grabbing someone in a sexual way
sesma martial arts norwich against sexual bullying

Dont Blame Yourself

People who sexually harass or bully others can sometimes be extremely manipulative. They may try to make you feel as though you are the one in the wrong for rejecting their advances or telling them to stop. Don’t be fooled; they have no right to make you uncomfortable in such a manner.

No one has the right to sexually harass another person, regardless of their age, position, or level of authority.

There is no such thing as “asking for it.”

Tell an adult

It’s important that you let an adult know what is going on right away. Speak to an adult that you trust about what has happened and what should be done to stop it from continuing.

If you aren’t sure who to talk to, consider speaking to a parent, teacher or your coach.

If you are being sexually harassed by an adult at the school, it is extremely important that you let an adult know right away.

Some schools have people appointed to anti-bullying roles. If your school has one, that person could be a great person to seek guidance from.

Tell Them To Stop

Although it’s not always the case, there are times when the harasser may not realize that what they are doing or saying is making you uncomfortable. Begin by telling the person that what they are doing is inappropriate and that you want them to stop.

Sometimes simply saying to stop will be enough and the harasser will leave you alone or cease their inappropriate behavior.

Try saying something like, “What you are saying or doing makes me uncomfortable. Please stop right now.”

Keep A record

If your harasser does not stop after you’ve clearly told them to, you should begin writing down what happens each time you interact with him or her. This record can help you while reporting the harassment.

Save any offensive notes, messages, texts or e-mails that you receive from the harasser as evidence of their inappropriate behavior.
Keep the evidence someplace you don’t have to see unless you want to if it makes you upset to look at.

Sexual bullying includes a wide range of behaviour and can often cause distress and devastation to a person. Some examples of sexualised bullying include:
  • Abusive, sexualised name calling and insults. This includes using homophobic language and insults towards others
  • Spreading rumours of a sexual nature online or in person
  • Unwelcome looks and comments about someone’s appearance or looks, either face to face or behind their backs
  • Inappropriate and uninvited touching without consent
  • Pressurising someone to do something they do not want to do, using emotional blackmail such as ‘you would do this if you loved me’ or comparing previous encounters to make someone feel obliged to do something sexual
  • Upskirting – where someone takes a picture under a person’s clothing without their permission. It is now a specific criminal offence in England and Wales
  • Pressurising someone to send nudes and using emotional blackmail, for example threatening to end a relationship if they don’t send an image or video
  • Sending the image to others without consent is a form of sexual bullying too and depending on age, illegal too
  • Inappropriate sexual innuendos that is persistent and unwelcome
  • Sexism in all its forms and gender stereotyping roles
  • Graffiti with sexual content or display/circulation of inappropriate material of a sexual nature, such as pornography
  • In its most extreme form, sexual assault, or rape

Sexism is a behaviour, language or prejudice, which expresses institutionalised, systematic and comprehensive discrimination. It is based on a stereotypical view of masculine and feminine roles. Sexism limits the options of women and girls and can lead to discrimination or less favourable treatment. It is learned behaviour, however, and can therefore be ‘unlearned’.

Unfortunately, there are many instances where sexism and this form of stereotyping comes into play. Rated and slated is when boys are encouraged to be sexually active and have multiple partners and if they achieve this, they get ‘rated’ by their peers. However, if a girl makes the same choice as the boy, she gets ‘slated’ for the same thing and bullied. We all have a responsibility to teach children and young people to break the barriers of being stereotyped for their gender.

There is evidence that sexual bullying is increasing and it is linked to domestic violence and other gender-based violence such as rape and sexual assault.

In June 2021, Ofsted carried out a review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges and they found  that 9 out of 10 girls and half the boys who took part in the review said being sent unsolicited explicit pictures or videos happened a lot to them or their peers. 92% of girls and three-quarters of boys complained of recurrent sexist name-calling. “The frequency of these harmful sexual behaviours means that some children and young people consider them normal,” the report said.

Sexual bullying can undermine someone’s dignity and safety as well as affect their emotional wellbeing and lead to depression, isolation, eating disorders and self-harming. It is very common for sexual bullying to go viral both offline and online with no let up for the person on the receiving end. Boys are just as much victims of sexual bullying as girls. Boys too feel powerless to stop it, pressurised to do something they do not want to and called names if they choose not to be promiscuous or are not perceived to fit their peer’s ideals of masculinity. The scars of these effects can last a lifetime if not supported and encouraged to address these feelings.

In the Ofsted review they found that children and young people, especially girls said that they do not want to talk about sexual abuse for several reasons, even where their school encourages them to. For example, the risk of being ostracised by peers or getting peers into trouble is not considered to be worth it for something perceived to be commonplace. They worry about how adults will react, because they think they will not be believed, or that they will be blamed. They also think that once they talk to an adult, the process will be out of their control.

It is important that children and young people are educated on the issues of sexual bullying from a young age to help them make positive choices. Talk to them about rising above what their peers expect of them and being responsible and resilient is essential.

Create a safe space for you and your teen to talk about things generally and openly. Ensure that there are no distractions and keep it casual. Keep your questions open and find out more about what is going on for them and the people they spend time with. Reassure them that you are there for them and will always be there to listen without judgement. It may help to use scenarios from a show on the TV or in a magazine to explore what they would do and what they could do if they were in a difficult situation.

It may be hard for them to open up to you straight away as they may be worried that as a parent you will react and respond in a way, they don’t want you too. Therefore, keep your emotions in check and let them guide you on what they need from you. Avoid belittling, punishments, blame or shame as that will be a sure-fire way of them shutting you out.

If they have experienced any form of sexualised bullying or harassment, they will need plenty of warmth, love and reassurance from you. They will need to feel safe and reminded that this is not their fault. It is important to go through all the options they have such as reporting it to the school or police.