How to deal with sexual harassment at school

If you’ve ever felt violated or uncomfortable at school, you are not alone chomas. Many people have experienced sexual harassment and have not realised it or have felt too ashamed to talk about it.

Sexual harassment is a serious problem, whether it’s from teachers or fellow students, it is never ok, and it is never your fault. Always remember that. If a fellow student or teacher says or does things of a sexual nature that make you uncomfortable, embarrassed, or scared, you have a right to tell them to stop immediately. Furthermore, it is illegal for teachers to engage in any sexual activity with their pupils, they are adults and in the eyes of the law, this is Statutory Rape.

Identifying types of sexual harassment:

Here are different ways that you could be a victim of sexual harassment at school.

  • Being sent personal and inappropriate images (like naked pics) and messages, whether it’s a note or a cell phone message, it’s not right. If someone sends you pictures of their private parts, report them.
  • Inappropriate touching. This can be anything from pinches and tickling, to touching your behind or even massaging your shoulders. Trust your instincts, if it makes you uncomfortable, tell them to stop.
  • Being forced into sexual acts.
  • Receiving sexual suggestions or comments about sex.
  • Having your clothing removed, or having someone else remove their clothing.
  • Being the subject of sexual rumours or insults.

Sexual harassment doesn’t just happen with boys against girls. It can be girls against boys, girls against girls, and boys against boys. The golden rule is, if it feels wrong to you, they must stop. When these situations happen do not try to smile it off (some people smile to try make uncomfortable situations go away), this will only encourage your harasser or make it feel like a joke to them. Be firm and tell them to stop.

If the situation is a regular thing, try keep a diary of everything that happens as it happens, this will help you gather your thoughts and also remove any self-doubt about the situation. It is also important to talk to an authority figure, your teachers, school councillor, your parents, prefects, talking to more than one will help your claim. If the person harassing you is a teacher, you will need to go straight to the principle.

Be firm and confident, and always trust your personal judgement and instincts. You know what feels right and doesn’t for you, and no one has a right to take that away from you.