We are in the same class; we are seniors in high school. He always makes disgusting jokes about how he wants to fuck me and the whole class laughs at it. At first, I just laughed it off because I was socially inexperienced and didn’t know how to react. But then I started to talk. When I said that these jokes are mean and made me uncomfortable, he made jokes even worse than that (he still does). He always makes fun of my hair, breasts and stuff. He said that I look like an actress in front of everyone and asked me to check her pictures from Google. I did and it was a porn star, he humiliated me in front of people. One moment he says good stuff about how I look, then the other moment he makes it turn into something dirty. Why is he doing this and how will I get rid of him doing this? And does it count as bullying or harassment?
It’s pretty clear he’s doing it because he’s getting attention from the rest of the class. It isn’t about you – it’s about him and his insecurities. You just happen to be a convenient target. But the reward he is getting is from the rest of the class. He’s probably not even thinking about the impact he is having on you. It’s also possible he is attracted to you and completely and totally socially awkward himself and doesn’t know how to deal with his own emotions or how to talk to a real woman. If he is getting his information on what women like from porn – he’s poorly informed. That’s his problem, don’t make it yours.
And yes, this is harassment – in fact, its sexual harassment. You are doing him a favor by making him stop. Because he can get into big trouble in the real world if he continues to behave this way with women.
How to get him to stop?
You need something you can say. Polite – but still letting him know -what he is doing is not appropriate. What you said before is probably just fine. “You are being rude. Stop.” The simpler the better. Don’t argue, don’t engage, just repeat your phrase as necessary. Calmly and while looking him directly in the eye.
Here’s what happens. You tell him to stop being rude. He will escalate. He escalates because you just removed his reward – you made him look bad in front of the other kids. He escalated his behavior to get his reward back and to save face in front of the others. His escalation means what you did worked – and he didn’t like it. So do it again. Remember, this isn’t actually about you – it’s about his need to look cool in front of the other kids. Every time you deny him that by calling him out on his inappropriate behavior – he has a problem. That’s why he escalates to save face. It’s his attempt to regain control and reassert himself as “cool.” Deny him that – every single time.
Don’t argue with him and don’t debate him. You just tell him he’s being rude and he needs to stop. You have to do this every single time – and I mean – every single time. When you let him get away with it even once, you set up a variable reinforcement schedule, which makes it worse. You need to be 100% consistent in your response to him.
The other thing I want you to do is to start keeping a log of everything he says. When he says it, what exactly he said (verbatim), where it was said, who witnessed it. That will give you the documentation you need to present to the principal of the school so that they take you seriously and get this guy some help. Do not give anyone your original – save that for yourself and your parents. Give the school a copy. You can do this daily if you like. Force the school to deal with this.
The next thing I want you to do is – when you tell him he is being rude, and he responds by being even ruder, inform the teacher immediately. Get up – go to the teacher and tell them exactly what he said – in detail, that you asked him to stop and he said – whatever he said in response. Chances are the kids in your class will be happy to testify against him and get him in trouble for being such a jerk. This is entertaining sport for them to watch. Again, you need to do this every single time!!! In real time. Don’t wait to report. Do it right away. You tell him to stop, he doesn’t, you report him.
What you are doing is giving him an opportunity to behave properly. When he doesn’t he gets a negative consequence. That’s how you train him to stop. And again, regardless of what happens, log it in your log – and make a note – reported it to – whatever teacher you reported it to and what the teacher did in response.
If he threatens you – report immediately and put it in your log. If he corners you or stalks you – document and report – immediately. Especially if he moves his harassment into cyberspace. or to your home. Document everything – screen shots, etc. If things start happening off campus – consider getting the police involved, this is where your documentation will come in handy. If you have a log you will have the documentation you need to prove a pattern of harassment that is pretty severe. If he was doing this to an adult in the real world it would be considered criminal level stalking or harassment. So it is as serious as it feels.
What’s going to happen when you start being consistent in your response and in not letting him get away with it even once – is he’s going to escalate to the point where his behavior is going to get him in serious trouble. Don’t feel bad about that. If he is smart, he will stop before that. And you will have trained him to stop. If he isn’t in control enough to stop, then he needs the intervention that he will receive when he gets in trouble. So – let him get himself in trouble. Give him the opportunity to behave civilly. Always be civil to him – just – that is rude – stop. (not please stop – just stop). And if he doesn’t stop, report him. Every. Single Time.
Understand – when he escalates, he’s digging his own hole. You can’t prevent him from doing that. You have no idea what underlying issues and problems this boy may have at home. So don’t think of what you are doing as getting him in trouble. What you are doing is bringing the administrator’s and teacher’s attention to the fact that one of their students is clearly in desperate need of mental health help. By reporting him, you are getting him that help and you are helping yourself at the same time because eventually – he will stop and you will have the self-esteem to know – you took control and made that happen.