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Sexual insults, bullying and habitual harassment

Young people should understand what makes a positive relationship and what makes a bad one. There are benefits and risks involved in relationships depending on the degree of sexual intimacy. Before we can formulate our own view without being coerced by undue pressure from others, we need a minimum level of maturity, experience, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Children should understand the importance of standing up for themselves. They should be given guidelines for dealing with negative behaviours, such as online and face-to-face name calling. They should understand how actions such as making sexual comments and sharing sexual pictures, either in person or online, may cause shame and affect another person’s reputation.

Behaviours that can offend or upset others include sexual insults. These can be verbal, written or communicated by gestures. Name calling is particularly hurtful when a person knows that they belong to a social group that is victimised in society e.g. the disabled, gays, women, ethnic minorities or poor people. The person making the insult has a sense of superiority and confidence from knowing they have the support of the society around them.

Children should be taught when to stand up to bullies and when to ask for support from adults. A bully is not a strong person. A bully feels successful if they are able to victimise someone who is more vulnerable than they are. Teenagers should be informed about the emotional impact and legal implications of different types of harassment and abuse in relationships.

Teenage girls especially can be highly sensitive to remarks made about their appearance. Many women of any age translate eroticism into dirty (disgusting or obscene). This causes women embarrassment and even shame over their sexual role of facilitating male orgasm. Men like to imply that women engage in sex to enjoy their own orgasm as if women have male sexual urges. Women may need support in knowing how to reject sexual invitations or other unwanted intimacy. We all need to think about how we deal with rejection, feeling shame and feeling used. Girls can be just as hurtful as boys.

Today laws protect women against unwanted sexual advances but they are also used against innocent men. Men need to be increasingly vigilant. A man needs to recognise when a woman’s behaviour is likely to lead to entrapment. Work situations are particularly sensitive. Drunken escapades and being alone with a female colleague can be unwise for a man. Men need to ensure their comments and behaviour towards female colleagues are exemplary.

Women expect so-called civilised men to restrain themselves. This attitude is evidence that women never experience a sex drive as men do. Women don’t understand that it is simply not possible to suppress a true biological sex drive. Men’s sexuality needs as much respect as women’s does. Young women rely on the protection of society to tease men by behaving in a provocative manner but never having to face the consequences. This is the equivalent of a gazelle prancing around in front of a hungry lion knowing that the lion is not allowed to get at it. Women want the right to tease but not to deliver. It is hardly moral or right. Particularly in work areas, such as sales and marketing, the attraction of women’s bodies to male customers is used to assist with the company’s goals. Any man who attempts a sexual advance is accused of sexual harassment. This sexually provocative behaviour, that women are encouraged to engage in, sends confusing and contradictory messages to the male population. Some men are more likely to assault women than others, who return home hoping their partner will oblige them.

Sexual harassment including stalking is most usually (but not always) perpetrated by men with women as the victims. If men are victims of sexual abuse, they may be reluctant to get help because of the shame of being a victim. Many women put up with sexual harassment because they are too embarrassed to complain or they don’t know how to deal with the conflict.

Some men feel compelled to fight to secure personal power and supremacy over male rivals. Most women don’t want to get themselves killed. Their goal is survival. Men are more determined and stronger than women. But women also lack the ability to fight as men do. Only a naïve person would suggest that men do not use these advantages to get what they want from women. Most men prefer a woman to be financially dependent on them. Men use this economic advantage to make a woman feel obliged to offer regular sex.

Ignoring what someone says is a form of bullying. One person promotes their own point of view thereby implying the invalidity of the other person’s until they give up. Once the second person has been silenced, the first person claims victory. Thereafter the first person concludes they are right because no one objects. When someone is trying to keep you happy or they need your support, they may agree with you just to please you. If someone is receiving money from you, they will agree with almost anything you say.

Men can’t understand why women are not more willing to offer intercourse. Men often use any means available to pressure their partner into obliging them. A man may use a woman’s love for him to make her feel obliged to give him the intercourse he wants. Men can be frustrated because women control their sexual opportunities. Bullying behaviour comes in various guises. Some approaches are cloaked in sentiments of love or even affection.

Men often feel very angry with women who never initiate sex and too often don’t want sex. But this anger has a tone of alienation, guilt, and insecurity: men feel instinctively on some level that sex does not involve an equal sharing, especially when they are having an orgasm and the woman does not – and this puts them on the defensive. (Shere Hite)

Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)