Sexual bullying refers to a type of sexual harassment or abuse that is sexual in nature and intends to injure, insult or demean a victim. It can also occur online or through digital means of communication. Sexual bullying can take the form of physical, verbal or mental tactics to harm a target. This issue is often seen at school, daycare centers, in sports and in the workplace.
Defining Sexual Bullying
Bullying refers to any type of aggressive behavior that is done intentionally or repeatedly to inflict injury or discomfort on another person. Sexual bullying shares the same definition, but these acts have the added element of being focused on a victim’s sex, gender, gender identity, sexual preferences or sexual activity.
Sexual bullying can involve any of the following:
- Inappropriate comments or remarks that are sexual in nature
- Sexually-charged jokes or innuendos
- Sexual harassment, discrimination or intimidation
- Sexual slurs, insults or epithets
- Sexual hazing
- Online sexual bullying (cyberbullying)
- Spreading sexual rumors or gossip
- Circulating explicit photos of a victim
- Revenge porn
- Sexual coercion
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Touching a victim’s private parts
- Physical sexual assault or abuse
- Rape, attempted rape or statutory rape
Sexual bullying can take place in school, on a field trip, in school sports or athletic teams, at daycare centers, churches, summer camps, military schools or private schools, public schools, colleges and universities, and in the workplace.
Signs of Sexual Bullying
Sexual bullying can have significant and long-term effects on a victim. A target of sexual bullying could suffer severe consequences and impacts on his or her daily life – especially when sexual bullying occurs at a young age.
A victim of sexual bullying may exhibit any of the following:
- Physical signs: physical injuries, trouble walking or sitting, stomachaches, weight loss or gain, unkempt appearance, involuntary urination or defecation, sexually transmitted diseases.
- Psychological signs: depression, anxiety, withdrawal or isolation from others, post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, flashbacks, chronic fear, suicidal thoughts or actions.
- Emotional signs: excessive crying (young children), lack of interest in hobbies or activities, low self-esteem or self-confidence, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, feelings of guilt or shame.
- Behavioral signs: regressive behaviors, sexual promiscuity, trouble in school, substance abuse, behavioral outbursts, “acting out,” running away from home, criminal activity.
In addition, a victim may suffer damage to his or her reputation that hurts relationships with others and interferes with school or work performance. If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of sexual bullying, speak up. Help is available.
Who Is Liable for a Case of Sexual Bullying?
Institutions, including schools and workplaces, have a legal responsibility to take proactive steps against sex crimes such as sexual bullying and harassment. They are legally required to protect children from sex abusers, such as by conducting background checks on employees and promptly investigating sexual abuse complaints. If they fail in any of these duties, institutions can be held liable (financially responsible) for harm suffered by sexual bullying victims.
Contact our Kansas Sexual Abuse Attorney
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual bullying in Kansas or Missouri, contact the Kansas sexual abuse lawyers at DRZ Law so that we can develop a personalized legal strategy on your behalf. We are powerful negotiators in and out of the courtroom with years of experience handling school sexual bullying cases, Title IX violations and workplace sexual harassment claims. Request a free and confidential case evaluation today at (913) 214-8606.