As part of Anti-Bullying Week 2021, we are looking at the bullying of women and how it has increased in recent years, particularly since the outbreak of the coronavirus. This is a diverse subject which can also be covered by the term sexism, a form of prejudice based on gender.
Online movements such as #MeToo and ‘Time’s Up’ have put the spotlight on the way in which women are the targets of sexual harassment or abuse in professional settings. On many occasions the unacceptable behaviour starts with bullying.
Recent news stories have highlighted a spate of violent attacks on women by men. In some cases the men held positions of authority and were able to use their influence to coerce the women into perilous situations. Bullies crave power over their targets and seek out those who are unable to fight back. That is why women are often the targets of bullying by certain men. It is therefore vital that women feel able to speak up if they are being bullied at work without worrying about their professional security.
It is not only in the workplace or a professional setting that women are bullied. There can also be a pattern of bullying in abusive relationships. It goes without saying that women should also feel safe and secure in their personal relationships. However, such abuse often starts in subtle ways with gaslighting and controlling behaviour, and this can escalate resulting in financial, emotional or physical abuse and bullying.
Women must not tolerate bullying in any environment. Safe spaces, advice and help are available. The following organisations can provide support and guidance to women who are being bullied or who find themselves in vulnerable situations. Women should never feel ashamed or frightened to seek help.
- Rights of Women’s Helpline: 020 7490 0152
- Refuge UK: 0808 2000 247
- Women’s Aid Ireland: 1800 341 900
- Health and Safety Authority Ireland: 1890 289 389
Related: Anti-Bullying Week