What is sexual bullying and why it needs to stop

You know that I am a firm believer of equal rights for all, which is why I always promote gender equality. Sexual bullying’s one way of infringing (undermining) on someone’s rights based on their gender. Here’s why it needs to end.

What is sexual bullying

While there’s no legal definition for it, it’s actually no different to other types of bullying. What makes sexual bullying unique is that the repeated acts or behaviours are only based on someone’s sex. They’re intended to hurt or manipulate someone emotionally, psychologically and physically based on their gender, sexual orientation or other aspects like a person’s views on gender equality.

How does it happen?

People will often use sexual bullying tactics to treat others with disrespect and cause them to feel shame and fear. The bully will use sexual language (even during online chats), gestures and even violence to victimise someone. Cat calling, unwanted sexting (including sending pictures of private parts), and touching someone without their consent are all forms of sexual bullying.

Using peer pressure to convince someone to engage in sexual acts is also a form of bullying and you should not tolerate it from anyone, Choma.

What are the consequences?

Sexual bullying, like other forms of bullying, is caused by misinformation (lack of information or being exposed to the wrong kind of information). Sexism and gender stereotyping are both a result of ignorance and being misinformed. This is why there are so many cases of abuse and sexual assault in our society.

When a person’s sexually bullied, he or she may feel unsafe, lonely, shamed, distressed and helpless. It’s really not okay to encourage this kind of behaviour because this can lead to numerous mental health issues.

How can you help?

Speak Out: if you’ve seen your friends and family members sexually bullying someone, don’t be afraid to call them out on their behaviour. Let them know that they’re not supported and their behaviour is unacceptable.

Education: educate your friends, family and bae about sexual bullying. Let them know what kind of impact it has on the victims and how it takes away from a gender equal society.

Get support: If you’re being bullied and need help or know someone who needs help, you can contact me for support and advice or reach out to organisations like Family Lives or Childline SA.

Sexual bullying is a total disregard of a person’s human rights and it’s up to us to make sure it stops. Remember that girls and women can also be guilty of sexual bullying, so it’s important to respect other people’s space, bodies and sexuality.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).