What is Bullying?
- Around the world, more than one in five children are bullied at school, every week, others are bullied irregularly.
- More than one in five employees are bullied at work, some research suggests that more employees are bullied at work than at school!
- Bullying in all its forms is basically an abuse of power, by someone who is stronger - physically, verbally, mentally, socially, electronically, politically or financially - towards someone who can't block the bully's games and cruel behaviours.
- Intent is not relevant, many bullies hurt others without meaning to!
- Apart from saints and sociopaths, almost anyone can be a target, bully or both. Some can be targets and bullies simultaneously, eg the school target who bullies his family, the bully boss who is targeted by his bully manager, the target who provokes and fights back.
- In most cases bullying depends on where people are, not who they are. They go with the flow and bully if they can get away with it. They are respectful and empathic when their leaders establish an appropriate role model.
- Bullying could occur once and leave a dramatic long lasting impact, but generally it occurs regularly or sporadically, over months or years.
- A target can be bullied consistently by one person, a group or confront many different bullies over time. Some targets believe they have a 'Bully-me Sign' on their forehead.
- Bullying causes billions of damage to everyone concerned, the target, bully, onlookers, families, school, workplace, employers and the community.
- Bullying causes accumulative layers of primary and secondary injuries. These include physical, psychological, social and identity injuries. It can affect studies, career, relationships and financial wellbeing. It can cause a severe Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, lasting many years.
- Bullying occurs because no one intervenes and stops it.
What are the types of bullying?
- Psychological/ Emotional/ Personal
- Professional: interference with work requirements
- Aggressive: pointing, screaming, swearing and punching
- Covert: exclusion, not forwarding emails, malicious gossip
- Subtle: whispers, stares
- Cyber bullying
- Discrimination/harassment: gender, sex, racial, handicapped
- Mobbing: group bullying
- Violence: criminal assault
Action to reduce bullying can take place at many levels:
- The ethical and legal responsibility for reducing bullying belongs to the community, school or employer, the bonus is that school standards improve and work performance escalates.
- However the target, their family, onlookers or peers need to develop assertive skills to confront the bully and alert the authorities about abusive behaviours.
- The bully needs to replace his/her aggressive or passive-aggressive behaviours with assertive, empathic behaviours, which reduce their bullying.
- The target needs to learn how to block the bully, protect themselves and build a support network.
- Both target and bully may need to improve their social survival skills in order that their peer group supports and befriends them.
- Bullying can cause physical, psychosocial, social and personality injuries. You may need to consult a skilled psychologist.
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