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I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they come from.

It was the year of 2000.

When Sam was singled out by a bully at his new school at the age of 10, he didn’t know what to do. Sam felt confused, scared and couldn’t even fathom the thought of discussing something like this with close friends and family.

He was mocked and laughed at for his accent. He was just about getting used to the new place, didn’t know a lot of people and obviously couldn’t understand why he was treated the way he was. Which brings us to the question.

Picture from shutterstock

What exactly is bullying? And how does one identify it? More importantly, can an end be put to it?

As per research, bullying is the use of force or aggression between individuals or groups of individuals that have different levels of power.

The key element here being power.

Most of us at some point in our lives, have or have been bullied by individuals or groups depending on where we stood in the power equation. Researchers have also identified that the root of bullying in most cases starts very early, sometimes as early as schooling. The person being bullied does not have the power to defend himself/herself, neither do they have faith in the higher echelons that have the power to address this. Hence, they often fall out and miss highlighting the issue.

We’ve all seen it happen.

In school, when we were kids. In college, when a senior bullied a junior. At workplaces, when those in leadership roles bully those below them in the line of command. On social media, when people are trolled for their opinions. Blacks versus Whites. Even, gender diverse groups like the LGBTQ community have found it hard to be accepted.

So how do you identify it? How do you know if you or your child, your friend or your loved one is being bullied or is bullying others?

Understanding the way a person feels after being bullied or after bullying might be a good starting point. People start behaving differently when they are bullied. They go into a shell, become quieter, and feel embarrassed admitting that it’s happening to them.

Does the bully feel a sense of pride or achievement in demeaning others?

Is he devoid of guilt since he doesn’t think about it and is indifferent to how the victim feels?

Is he expected to practice bullying under peer pressure or because of the pressure of the social group that the person is part of?

Are your own actions in some way responsible for how your child, friend, or loved one is behaving?

We need to come up with a lot of answers, and fast.

While there are enough measures taken by the society to ensure such issues are reported timely, it is upon us to collectively work towards stopping bullying and encourage as many people as possible to talk about it.

One such solution could be the….

buddy system where young members who are often victims can be groomed by older members. And this can be followed in schools, colleges, workplaces; you name it, and the list goes on. This way, the onus is on both the young and old members to ensure that the right behaviour is followed.

Of course, it’s easier said than done but consistency and perseverance can help achieve this. It is natural to be upset when you’re being bullied but ignoring the bully and walking away helps too. It might seem small at that moment, but it has a huge impact in life. By choosing to walk away, you are already the bigger person in the room.

Lastly, all of us need to believe that there is enough positivity in the world.

Good news, victories, triumphs, and comebacks are always sweeter than memories of bad news, and losses. And that, little by little will make this world a better place.

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