To stop bullying, you have to know what it looks like.
It’s common for girls to talk about sex, sexuality and things that fall between the two. But sometimes it can cross the line into bullying. It can be difficult to tell whether a comment should be labeled as bullying, so to stop sexual bullying you have to know what it looks like. Sexual bullying can be anything that has a sexual message that makes a girl feel intimidated or uncomfortable.
Some physical examples of sexual bullying are:
Sexual bullying is not always physical and can be verbal:
- Sexual comments
- Sexual rumors
- Sexual jokes
Click here to read more about ways girls can be sexually bullied (DOC).
Comments or jokes may not be intended to hurt and in fact may be someone’s way of showing that they like someone. However, if it makes the other person feel bad, it is unwanted sexual attention.
Here are examples of what sexual bullying looks like:
Watch as Lisa gets unwanted sexual attention from a boy, Brent, at her school.
Watch as some of Alycia's teammates make comments about her body and sexuality.
Think you know?
The following questions are to help you better understand sexual bullying. Work by yourself or with a friend and try to come up with answers on your own before looking at our answers.
Questions about the video:
Brent and Lisa:
Why would Brent’s actions and comments be labeled as sexual bullying?
- Brent approaches Lisa in between classes and in front of others and makes the comment “Do you like what you see?” with the purpose of making Lisa feel uncomfortable and intimidated.
- Sexual bullying can be both verbal and physical. Brent grabbing Lisa’s arm after making a pass at her is considered sexual bullying.
- Asking Lisa to wear a lower cut shirt even after she has made it clear she is not interested in him is sexual bullying because he is intent on making her feel even more uncomfortable.
Can you see how Brent’s comments could be played off as a joke? Why is this not a joke?
- Brent and others may pass off these comments and actions as “harmless” fun but the comments are mean and degrading.
- Brent’s comments are not a joke because they make Lisa feel uncomfortable and upset.
- These comments have negative effects on the victim and make her feel bad and embarrassed.
- These types of comments make other people who hear them uncomfortable too, and although they may laugh along they probably do not agree with the “joke.”
Casi and Alycia:
Can you see how Casi’s comments could be played off as a joke? Why should they not be considered a joke?
- Casi and the other girls may pass off these comments as “harmless” fun but they are mean and degrading.
- Casi’s comments are not a joke because they embarrass Alycia and make her feel bad about herself.
- These comments have negative effects on Alycia making her feel bad about her own body.
- These types of comments make other people who hear them feel uncomfortable too, and although they may laugh along they probably do not agree with the “joke.”
Why would the actions and comments of Casi be considered bullying?
- Casi makes comments about Alycia’s breasts and about her sexuality, telling others that Alycia is easy.
- These comments are considered sexual bullying because they are negative comments about Alycia’s body and they are meant to make Alycia feel embarrassed, uncomfortable and bad about herself.
Other things to think about:
Why is this type of behavior usually laughed off?
- Bystanders laugh because they do not know what else to do. But, it can still make bystanders who hear these comments feel uncomfortable.
- Bystanders also laugh because they are afraid that if they don’t, the bully may target them next.
- Also, talking about sex and sexuality is common among teens. Because of this, many bystanders and even bullies may not know that their comments or actions are actually hurting others.
When should a sexual comment or joke not be laughed off?
- Any comment or joke that is negative about a girl’s body or her actions should never be laughed off as a joke.
- These types of comments almost always make people feel bad. This is true even if the victims are laughing along with everyone else.
- Victims tend to laugh off these types of comments because they don’t know what to say or do about it. It can be easier to pretend to laugh along then tell others that the comment hurt them.
How often do you think girls sexually bully other girls? What types of things do girls focus on when they sexually bully other girls?
- Sexual bullying happens more between girls than between guys and girls.
- Girls tend to focus on girls’ changing body, such as weight or breast size.
- They also focus on girls’ sexual actions or choices such as calling each other “easy” or other negative sexual names.
Let's take a look at what happens next in After The Bullying →