Bullying may be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally. In other words, it refers to the negative actions of a person intentionally inflicting injury or discomforting another person through physical contact, through words or in other ways. According to U.S. National Center for Education, bullying can be classified into two categories:
Indirect bullying (or social aggression).
Direct bullying involves a great deal of physical aggression such as throwing things, slapping, choking, punching and kicking, beating, stabbing, pulling hair, scratching, biting, scraping, and pinching whereas aggression or indirect bullying is characterized by attempting to socially isolate the victim. This isolation is achieved through a wide variety of techniques, including spreading gossip, refusing to socialize with the victim, bullying other people who wish to socialize with the victim, and criticizing the victim’s manner of dress and other socially-significant markers (including the victim’s race, religion, disability etc.).An array of nonviolent behavior can be outlined which can be considered “indirect bullying”, at least in some instances, such as name calling, silent treatment, manipulation, gossip/false gossip, lies, rumors/false rumors, laughing at the victim, saying certain words that trigger a reaction from a past event and mocking.
Depending upon the nature of Bullying, it can be further classified into four basic types –emotional (or relational), verbal, physical and cyber.
Statistics show that bullying is 3 times as prevalent as illegal discrimination and at least 1,600 times as prevalent as workplace violence. Statistics also show that while only one employee in every 10,000 becomes a victim of workplace violence, one in six experiences bullying at work. Bullying is a little more common than sexual harassment but not verbal abuse which occurs more than bullying. Such actions are not necessarily illegal and may not even be against the firm’s regulations; however, the damage to the targeted employee and the workplace morale is obvious.
Researchers have identified various factors such as depression , personality disorders ,quickness to anger and use of force, addiction to aggressive behaviors, mistaking others’ actions as hostile, concern with preserving self image, and engaging in obsessive or rigid actions, envy and resentment, family environment characterized by conflict and poor parenting responsible for bullying. Bullies can also use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self-esteem: by demeaning others, the abuser feels empowered. Bullies may bully out of jealousy or because they themselves are bullied. Most people remain bystanders and may accept the bullying or even support the bully. In 85% of bullying incidents, bystanders are involved in teasing the victim or egging on the bully. When the bully encounters no negative response from observers, it encourages continuation of the behavior. Researches also indicate that adults who bully have authoritarian personalities, combined with a strong need to control or dominate. It has also been suggested that a prejudicial view of subordinates can be a particularly strong risk factor.
According to the researches carried out by Anti-Bullying Centre at Trinity College in Dublin, individuals whether child or adult, who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide. Those who have been the targets of bullying can suffer from long term emotional and behavioral problems (such as post traumatic disorder) disorder. Bullying can cause loneliness, depression, anxiety, lead to low self-esteem, increased susceptibility to illness and maladjustment. It also leads to violence and serial killing. Bullied students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold carried out the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Studies reveal that serial killers were frequently bullied through direct and indirect methods as children or adolescents.
Some have argued that bullying can teach life lessons, effective ways to manage disputes, ways to interact with others and instill strength. Bullying can also help the victims to adapt social or physical lifestyle changes that result in greater mental or physical health over the longer term. For example, weight-based victimization (WBV) has been shown to influence overweight individuals to lose weight. Despite occasional assertions that bullying can be positive and even productive, the avowed normative consensus is that bullying is a form of abuse and is wholly negative.
Every individual, as a human being, longs to be respected or sought after. He has all rights to protect his dignity but in the act of protecting his own dignity, he must take care of the fact that he is not hurting anyone physically or emotionally. When being bullied, let’s us not give the bully any chance to lower our self esteem. Let’s all pledge to stop bullying (by not encouraging bullying in any form or being a bully) and make this world a better place to live in by fostering humanity and brotherhood.
© Swati Sarangi
Swati Sarangi is currently pursuing Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering. She has always been so inclined towards reading and writing since childhood days. She has contributed her works to school and college magazines, different websites like learning and creativity.com, bonobology. She actively participates in various literary competitions and has won many prizes at school ,college and national level. She writes in her blogs along with her sister Sweta – https://creative-constellation.blogspot.com and https://wordstoworldblog.wordpress.com .Her poems have got place in Addiqtd Book of poetry by LJLF, Anthology of poems like Shades of life-2 ,The Stage, The seasons and various emagazines like Agnishatdal and Writer’s Ezine. Her favourite form of writing is poetry.