Sexual Harassment Increasing in Schools – What Should I Do?

From Class 10: Sheetal just broke up with her classmate Rohit. Very soon, other students (their friends) started spreading sex related rumours about Sheetal. They started whispering when she was around and calling her names. 

This too is an example of sexual harassment, not just bullying, and no one should tolerate this. Sexual harassment not only includes touching someone, but all of the following:

  1. Keeping insulting names: Calling out gay or slut, or other insulting names as the person passes by. Insults related to a person’s sexuality are also a form of sexual harassment.
  2. Pressurizing behaviour: Someone putting pressure on you to go out with them or to have sex with them also amounts to sexual harassment.
  3. Touching inappropriately: This is often seen when a girl’s breasts brushed or a boy is grabbed as a prank – totally unwanted behaviour and is also classified as sexual harassment.
  4. Harassment in the classroom: Boys picking on a new girl in class, thereby making her life very uncomfortable. She is insecure and feels unsafe. This is also a form of sexual harassment.
  5. Pressure from adults: In schools, authority figures like the teacher, principal or even the office peon may offer some facility in exchange for sexual favours. This is becoming more and more common today.
  6. Online harassment: Emails, lewd messages, and even indecent photo-shopped pictures of a student amounts to sexual harassment.
No means no
No means no

Sexual harassment is rapidly on the rise today, especially in schools. In case you feel you are being sexually harassed, here’s what you need to do:

  • Be BOLD: Immediately tell the person to stop what he/she is doing as you don’t like it.
  • Note everything down: Don’t delete any messages, emails, texts, etc. Record what the person said or did; where and when.
  • Put your trust in someone: Talking to your parents or any adult you like will put into perspective whether what you are uncomfortable with, is sexual harassment or not.
  • Report the incident: If an incident takes place in school, report it to a teacher you trust and if necessary, take the matter to the headmaster/principal.
  • If you are very badly affected and feel insecure, you can also consider ‘changing schools’ or ‘legal action’.

Whatever you do – NEVER KEEP QUIET AND SUFFER SEXUAL HARASSMENT. By speaking up, you are doing yourself and many others a great favour!