October is Anti-bullying Month

In honour of October’s Bullying Awareness Month, I decided I would write an article about this topic because I have personally experienced this as both a child and an adult.

It’s sad that this form of harassment still exists in the world. Even with all of the movements and strategies to build awareness it has still managed to survive the decades.

The definition of bullying as quoted from Webster’s Dictionary:

bullying

bul·ly·ing |  \ ˈbu̇-lē-iŋ   , ˈbə-\

Definition of bullying

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc

bullying

 adjective

Definition of bullying (Entry 2 of 2)

: prone to or characterized by overbearing mistreatment and domination of others 

Anyone who has been a victim of bullying knows that it comes in many forms and can come from many different types of environments. It comes from, not only school-aged children, but sadly from grown ass adults who should know better as well.

Some forms of bullying are listed below (but not limited to):

psychical bullying: punching, hitting, pushing, shoving, throwing objects at, spitting on, etc

verbal bullying: swearing, insults, discriminatory remarks, name calling, taunting, teasing, gossiping, spreading rumours, attempts at intimidation, etc.

social bullying: sometimes referred to as covert bullying, is often harder to recognise and can be carried out behind the bullied person’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation.

Social bullying includes:

  • lying and spreading rumours
  • negative facial or physical gestures,
  • menacing or contemptuous looks
  • playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate
  • mimicking unkindly
  • encouraging others to socially exclude someone
  • damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.

Cyber bullying: can be overt or covert bullying behaviours using digital technologies, including hardware such as computers and smartphones, and software such as social media, instant messaging, texts, websites and other online platforms.

Cyber bullying can happen at any time. It can be in public or in private and sometimes only known to the target and the person bullying. Cyber bullying can include:

  • Abusive or hurtful texts emails or posts, images or videos
  • Deliberately excluding others online
  • Nasty gossip or rumours
  • Imitating others online or using their log-in

Fact: Children do not grow out of bullying

Without intervention, a significant number of youth who bully in childhood will continue to bully as they move through adolescence and into adulthood. As children mature, the nature of bullying changes. From early adolescence, new forms of aggression emerge. With developing thinking and social skills, children become aware of others’ vulnerabilities and of their own power relative to others. Bullying then diversifies into more sophisticated forms of verbal, social, homophobic, and sexually and racially based aggression. Over time, these new forms of aggression are carried forward into different relationships and environments. The destructive lessons learned in childhood about the negative use of power may translate into sexual harassment in the workplace, dating violence, marital abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse.

Solution: Early identification and intervention of bullying will prevent patterns of aggressive interactions from forming. Adults need to be aware that bullying changes with age and may become more difficult to detect.

According to an online article on psychologytoday.com…….

“being a quiet victim is not only mentally and emotionally unhealthy, it can encourage the bully to repeat and intensify their aggressive behavior. No matter how difficult the circumstance, seek out trustworthy individuals to confide in, whether they be friends, family, workplace confidants, counselors, or operators on a crisis hotline. Sharing your experience is not only cathartic; the support you receive may often strengthen your ability to handle the challenge.

If you are the victim of bullying whether at school, at work, in your family or any other environment, it’s time to put a stop to this type of abuse once and for all.

If you are a youth that is a victim of bullying, report this abuse to your parents, teachers, principal, guidance counsellor, or anyone else who can step in to help you. The longer this goes on the worse it will get. Don’t let them break you.

If you are an adult victim of bullying report your bullying work colleagues to your supervisor, their supervisor, the human rights committee, Human Resources or whomever else can be contacted to make sure this behaviour is documented. Let it be known that you will not accept their behaviour.

And when all else fails, remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with you. It’s not right what they are doing, but there is obviously something going on in those insecure minds of theirs that feels the need to build themselves up by tearing others down. And that applies to any type of bully: students, children, coworkers, bosses, family members or whatever category the they fall under.

Don’t let them get away with it. Stand up for yourself and let them know you are not going to tolerate their childishness. You are a human being that deserves to be treated with respect. Do not settle for less.

Don’t let them make you bitter. Become better. And last but not least, things could always be worse, because you could be one of them!

Resources and references:

https://www.ncab.org.au/bullying

https://www.prevnet.ca/bullying/types

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