What is bullying?
Bullying is another word for violence and abuse. It is more than just teasing on the playground. It includes unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a power imbalance between the perpetrator and the victim. The behavior is usually repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
Bullying can encompass many forms of violence, including physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and spiritual violence as well as verbal and financial abuse:
- Physical violence: grabbing, striking, pinching, shoving, physical harassment.
- Sexual violence: unwanted sexual contact with someone without their consent.
- Psychological violence: harassing or stalking and threats.
- Emotional violence: causing someone to feel humiliated, worthless or stupid.
- Spiritual violence: belittling or making fun of a person's spiritual or religious tradition, beliefs or practices.
- Verbal abuse: yelling, name-calling, constant criticism, insults, and gossiping.
- Financial abuse: taking someone's money or possessions without consent.
Why do people bully?
- To feel a sense of power and control over others.
- To make them feel tough.
- To make them feel in charge.
- To feel stronger and better than anyone else.
- To defend their actions by saying the victim caused it.
Bullying is deliberate and is meant to harm. Bullying is not a normal part of growing up. It is serious and has severe consequences!
Consequences of bullying:
- Low self esteem.
- Inability to deal with problems.
There are three types of people involved in most bullying incidents:
- The bully.
- The bullied.
- The bystanders.
When bystanders laugh or participate and fail to intervene they actually encourage and reward the bully's behavior. When bystanders ignore what's going on or act as an audience, the abuser gets away with it.
What can I do about bullying?
- Talk about bullying and the different forms of violence and abuse, and what you can do if it happens. How does it feel to be bullied? How does it feel when others watch and do nothing? Why would someone bully? Who can you talk to about it?
- Know the difference between tattling and reporting a crime. Failing to intervene while someone is being bullied allows the bullying to continue.
- Let bullied kids know that being bullied is not their fault or a problem that they caused.
The Reality of Violence and Abuse
Most people have experienced some form of violence in their lives and, if we are honest with ourselves, we have probably acted violently toward someone else in one way or another. Now that you know what violence is and what it can do, there's no excuse to abuse.
Stand Up. Reach Out. Step in. Stop the Violence.