United Against Bullying and Harassment #InHerCorner

In schools, on the streets, in relationships, and online, girls in communities across the country are experiencing bullying and harassment. In addition to sexual harassment, many girls experience discrimination based on their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and religion.

One in 4 high school girls in the U.S. will be bullied on school property. An environment where bullying takes place negatively affects everyone involved—the victim, the harasser, and the other students. To address this pervasive problem, Girls Inc. has dedicated our 2017 Girls Inc. Week, May 8-12, to help girls advocate for change and make our communities better places to live.

Girls Inc. recently surveyed nearly 800 members of our network, including girls and alumnae, parents, staff, board members, and donors to determine the top challenges facing girls today. Sixty-seven percent of respondents identified “bullying, harassment, and sexual violence” as an issue of concern to them. We can’t ignore this. This is a problem that affects us all.

It is important we understand the facts and myths about bullying and harassment in order to effectively address this issue.

  • Bullying is not just “kids being kids.” Bullying causes lasting harm and in some cases is unlawful harassment.
  • If it happens off school grounds, it must still be addressed at school if teachers or administrators are aware of it. Under Title IX, schools have to address conduct they know or should know about that leads to a hostile environment or impedes a student’s ability to benefit from the educational program.
  • Bullies are not just “problem kids” who have aggression issues and should be punished. In fact, it is quite common for kids who bully to be victims themselves.
  • Bullying won’t stop if the victim stands up to the bully. Just as society does not expect victims of other types of abuse to “deal with it on their own,” we should not expect victims of bullying or harassment to do so.
  • Girls Inc. encourages girls to be change agents within their communities, boldly advocating for themselves and others. We also work to change policies, attitudes, and beliefs to improve the conditions in which girls are growing up. It takes all of us coming together to ensure girls feel safe in their schools, communities, and with their peers.

Together, we can put an end to bullying and harassment to create more inclusive, kind, safe and supportive schools and communities.