Bullying at School and Sexual Violence

School-based bullying attracts even less attention in developing Asia than sexual violence. The South Asian regional consultation report for the UN Study notes that though there is not much information on bullying in schools in this region, it is known that older and stronger children pick on children who are “different” because of their gender, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or caste.

In a recent Bangladeshi study of the relationship between intervening
in bullying and bystanders feelings of shame noted that, although there have been
reports of extreme cases of violence in Bangladeshi schools, leading to extensive media coverage, bullying remains an understudied subject. Bullying is an ‘emerging’ problem across the region but it is unclear whether it is the research and reports that are emerging or it is an increase in this form of school-based violence itself.

In Bangladesh, through an emphasis on child rights, smaller class sizes, locally sourced teachers and alternative teaching styles, NGOs have gone a long way to improving the culture in their own schools, which make up a significant proportion of the primary schools in the country. Those children who make it to the secondary level, however, often have a shock when they are faced with more traditional forms of discipline and interaction with teachers in government and private schools. Informal schools are not problem-free, however, particularly when teachers are under-trained, underpaid and under-monitored.


Jones, N., Moore, K., Villar-Marquez, E., & Broadbent, E. (2008). Painful lessons: The politics of preventing sexual violence and bullying at school. London: Overseas Development Institute (ODI).


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