We've all heard a lot about bullying. But did you know that in high school (and middle school), some bullies use sexual messages or actions to make a person feel intimidated, small, or uncomfortable? This sexualized type of bullying is called sexual harassment or sexual bullying.
What Behaviors Count: Some images, jokes, language, and contact are called "inappropriate" for a reason. If a behavior or interaction makes you uncomfortable or upset, talk to a trusted adult. It may fall into the sexual harassment or bullying category.
What Are Sexual Bullying and Harassment?
Just like other kinds of bullying, sexual bullying involves comments, gestures, actions, or attention that is intended to hurt, offend, or intimidate another person. With sexual bullying, the focus is on things like a person's appearance, body parts, or sexual orientation. Sexual bullying includes spreading gossip or rumors of a sexual nature.
Sexual bullying or harassment may be verbal (like making rude comments to or about someone), but it doesn't have to be spoken. Bullies may use technology to harass someone sexually (like sending inappropriate text messages or videos). Sometimes harassment and bullying can even get physical.
Sexual harassment or bullying can include:
making sexual jokes, comments, or gestures to or about someone
spreading sexual rumors (in person, by text, or online) - sexual rumors include gossiping about someone's sexual preferences, for example saying someone is gay or lesbian when they are not, or vice vesa, saying someone is straight when they are not
writing sexual messages about people on bathroom stalls or in other public places
showing someone inappropriate sexual videos or pictures
posting sexual comments, pictures, or videos on social networks like Facebook, or sending explicit text messages
making sexual comments or offers while pretending to be someone else online
touching, grabbing, or pinching someone in a deliberately sexual way
pulling at someone's clothing and brushing up against them in a purposefully sexual way