Sexual bullying

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sexual bullying can be physical, verbal and/or emotional.[1]

Sexual bullying is a form of bullying or harassment in connection with a person's sex, body, sexual orientation or with sexual activity. It can be physical, verbal or emotional in nature, and occurs in various settings, including schools, workplaces, and online platforms. Sexual bullying can have serious and lasting effects on the mental and emotional well-being of victims.[2][3]

Types of Interactions[edit]

Physical and verbal bullying[edit]

Sexual bullying can involve sexually suggestive gestures, unconsented physical contact, sexual assault, or rape. Additionally, sexual bullying can occur with abusive and sexualized insults, spreading sexually-related rumors, pressuring someone to do something sexual that is unconsented, sexism in all forms, unwanted sexual innuendos and upskirting.[3]

Sexual cyberbullying[edit]

Sexual cyberbullying is a form of cyberbullying that involves using technology, such as cell phones, social media, and other online tools, to harass or coerce someone in a sexually explicit manner.[4]

This can include requesting explicit photos or messages, sending unwanted sexually explicit photos or messages, sharing sexually explicit messages and photos online without consent, threatening to send private photos online with the goal of receiving consensual sex, and publicly making unwanted sexually explicit comments.[4]

Case studies[edit]


A study by the National Union of Teachers in the United Kingdom indicated that sexual bullying starts at the primary school level and usually takes the form of verbal insults by boys directed at girls and women. The insults are generally centered on girls' sexual status, and include terms such as 'bitch', 'slag', 'tart' and 'slut''.[5]

Boys are mainly sexually bullied if they are viewed by their peers to not be promiscuous or lack masculine traits.[3] The most prevalent sexual abuse that boys receive is insults that relate to homophobic terms.[5]


According to a 2016 UNESCO study, a significant proportion of LGBT students experience homophobic and transphobic violence in school globally. The proportion of LGBT students affected ranged from 16% in Nepal to 85% in the United States. LGBT students are also more likely to experience such violence at school than at home or in the community.[6]

LGBT students report a higher prevalence of violence at school than their non-LGBT peers. In New Zealand, for example, lesbian, gay and bisexual students were three times more likely to be bullied than their heterosexual peers and in Norway 15–48% of lesbian, gay and bisexual students reported being bullied compared with 7% of heterosexual students.[6]

Associated effects and risks[edit]

Victims of sexual bullying may struggle with depression, anxiety, isolation, low self-esteem, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues. In some cases, sexual bullying can lead to self-harm or even suicide.[3]

Bullied sexual minority females are more likely to experience depression and suicidal ideation than their sexual minority male and heterosexual counterparts.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rivers, Ian; Duncan, Neil (2012). Bullying: Experiences and Discourses of Sexuality and Gender. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. ISBN 978-1-135-12737-4. OCLC 823390345.
  2. ^ Rivers, Ian (2012). Bullying. Neil Duncan. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. ISBN 978-1-135-12737-4. OCLC 823390345.
  3. ^ a b c d "What is sexual bullying | Family Lives". Retrieved 2023-04-15.
  4. ^ a b Ehman, Anandi C.; Gross, Alan M. (January 2019). "Sexual cyberbullying: Review, critique, & future directions". Aggression and Violent Behavior. 44: 80–87. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2018.11.001. ISSN 1359-1789. S2CID 149619539.
  5. ^ a b "NUT policy statement on preventing sexual harassment and bullying". National Union of Teachers. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 25 Apr 2010.
  6. ^ a b Out in the Open : Education Sector Responses to Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/expression. Paris, France. 2016. ISBN 978-92-3-100150-5. OCLC 1001011761.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  7. ^ Dunn, H. K.; Clark, M. A.; Pearlman, D. N. (2015). "The relationship between sexual history, bullying victimization, and poor mental health outcomes among heterosexual and sexual minority high school students: A feminist perspective". Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 32 (22): 3497–3519. doi:10.1177/0886260515599658. PMID 26268273. S2CID 5891812.