Sexual bullying and aggressiveness being confused

10th April 2009 at 01:00

Your article "Sex pest boys are not only targeting girls, but teachers too" (March 27) opens by referring to the practice of "sexual bullying".

This term is being used increasingly across the country and it is important to give the view of respectme, Scotland's anti-bullying service on this. We believe people need to be careful when using this term. Sexually aggressive behaviour should be seen as just that. While there may be elements of this conduct that could be seen as bullying based on gender, what you described is sexually aggressive and inappropriate.

Using the term "sexual bullying" may well dilute sexually-aggressive behaviour or harassment to the status of "just another type of bullying" and, sadly, we know not everyone takes bullying seriously.

The converse side is that it elevates bullying to the same status as sexual harassment and sexual assault, which is not always the case.

We know the solutions to these behaviours can be very different. We must ensure that our children and young people understand that sexually aggressive behaviour and bullying are completely unacceptable, and that the consequences of taking part in either can be serious - without confusing the two.

Brian Donnelly, director of respectme, Cumbrae House, Glasgow.

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