Types of Bullying

It is useful to break down bullying into different categories based on the way it is carried out or the groups it is used against. Categorising different forms of bullying lets us connect bullying to types of social oppression. With this knowledge, we can build strategies to educate people.

There are some main types of bullying which include: physical bullying; verbal bullying; relational aggression; cyber-bullying; sexual bullying; prejudicial bullying and discriminatory bullying against race, gender identity, or sexuality.

You can find a description of each of these types of bullying below.

Physical Bullying

Physical bullying is one of the most obvious forms of bullying as it occurs when one person tries to gain power and control physically over their targets. Example of this kind of bullying are hitting, kicking, slapping, and shoving as well as other physical attacks.

Verbal Bullying

Verbal bullying uses words, hurtful statements and name calling to gain power and control over their target. This type of bullying normally uses insults to hurt, embarrass and be little another person. Their targets are normally picked because of the way they look, act or behave. Verbal bullying can be hard to identify, as it is not as visible as physical bullying, and would normally happen when other people are not around to hear what has been said. It is important to address this type of bullying, rather than telling the victim to “ignore what was said” as verbal bullying can leave someone with deep emotional wounds.

Relational Aggression

Relational aggression is a type of bullying that is also known as emotional bullying. It can often be unnoticeable, which can become very dangerous as it is a type of social manipulation, in which the bully tries to ruin the social standing of the target. They could try to ostracise others from a group, spread rumours, break confidences and be highly manipulative.

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying happens through technology and can take many forms, such as; sending threats to another person’s phone, spreading rumours online, posting hurtful and threatening messages on social networking sites, stealing a person’s account information to break into their account and change details as well as sending damaging messages, pretending to be someone else online to hurt someone else, abusing confidentiality of another’s personal pictures and spreading them online, “Sexting” and circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person.  This is becoming a growing issue as the use of social networking and mobiles has increased vastly. To the targets of cyber bullying it could feel never ending as there is no reasonable way to get away from the hurt, as bullies can get to them anywhere and anytime.

Sexual Bullying

Sexual bullying can be repeated actions that are harmful and humiliating. It can consist of sexual name-calling, vulgar gestures, crude comments, touching without permission, propositioning, as well as some pornographic material. A bully might make a comment about a person’s sexual development or activity. In extreme cases sexual bullying can lead to sexual assault.

Prejudicial Bullying

Prejudicial bullying and discriminatory bullying is based on prejudice towards people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race and religion. This type of bullying encompasses ass the other types of bullying, only for different reasons. This type of bullying can result in hate crimes.

Prejudicial bullying can be one of the most debilitating things for trans people and other non-binary people. Some people are afraid of what they do not understand and know and so bullying of this kind may happen more so to trans people. When it comes to working, every person should have the right to feel safe. The equality and human rights commission states that “The Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) was amended in May 1999 to protect transsexual people against discrimination in employment and vocational training.” (Equality human rights: 2008). This means that trans people are protected from harassment, un fair dismissal or redundancy as well as being treated less favourably. This law applies to all workers, whether they are a temp, professional partner, apprentice, trainee or any other kind of worker.

Sexist Bullying

Sexist bullying is where you are bullied because of your gender and can happen to both men and women. It generally occurs when someone has stereo-typical ideals of what men and women’s roles should be. It normally occurs because men believe that women are subordinate and relates to the hetero-normative principles of society.

This type of bullying has behaviour that ranges from name-calling and in worst cases physical sexual assault. 

Examples of sexist bullying include name calling, spreading rumours, inappropriate touching and propositions, drawings or graffiti with a sexual nature, comments about physical appearance and in extreme cases sexual assault or rape.

Homophobic bullying

Homophobic bullying can include all the above methods of bullying and that is done to you because of your sexuality or perceptions of your sexuality. 

This kind of bullying could happen if you do not fit into the stereo-typical roles of men or women and if you are more feminine or masculine than some of society believes you should be.

If the bullying gets violent you should contact the police who have a specialist unit to deal with this.

Gender Related Bullying

Gender related bullying is the type of bullying that is important to us at Gendered Intelligence. There are increasing numbers of people who are revealing their gender variance or trans status in schools and in everyday life. Despite a strengthening in legislation protect trans people, transgender people are continuing to experience widespread discrimination.

Although there has been much work done on the issue of bullying since the 1970’s, the subject of gender and sexuality in relationship to bullying has not had enough work. However it is integral that this topic must be worked on in order to make schools safer and inclusive for everyone.

“Gendered harassment is any unwanted behaviour that enforces traditional, heterosexual gender norms. It is related to, and can overlap with, bullying. Forms of gendered harassment include sexual harassment; homophobic, bi-phobic, or transphobic harassment; and harassment for gender-nonconformity (Meyer, 2008, 2009).” (Sanders: 2013)

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