Why does Harassment Occur?

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Signs of Harassment

Effects of Harassment

Physical Harassment

Verbal Harassment

Emotional Harassment

  Responding to Harassment

Dealing with Bullies 

Why do Bullies Bully?

How to avoid Harassment

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Harassment knows no class, age or sex barriers. It can be found throughout society, involving both boys and girls, young and old. Harassment often occurs in the workplace, or in schools, where it often goes unnoticed for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, harassment in schools is usually conducted in a way that will not attract adult recognition or intervention. Bullies frequently admit to feelings of shame about their conduct and take pains to commit their acts of aggression away from adult eyes. At school, bullying can even occur in the classroom while the teachers back is turned. Indirect harassment or bullying, often used by girl’s groups, may be done with insult and body language so subtle that a teacher nearby will only observe what he/she takes to be a normal conversation between students.

Secondly, victims are generally reluctant to report any cases of harassment towards themselves or their peers. This may be because they had not been taken seriously by adults in the past. They may be afraid of making the situation worse by arousing the bully’s anger as a result of their complaint to a teacher or adult. Victims may be traumatised into a state of chronic passivity. They typically believe that nothing can be done to stop harassment from taking place. They may even come to blame themselves, imagining that they in some way deserve the victimisation they are experiencing.

Finally, unconscious attitudes can be a barrier which stops some adults seeing bullying as a serious problem in the lives of many students. There is also a tendency for adults to think in stereotypes, believing that the helpful, confident and outgoing child who is being complained about cannot be the thug we imagine bullies to be. Perhaps the other child is a ‘sook’ or a ‘whinger’.