There are many places where bullying can occur and many individuals who engage in it. School
and workplaces are often prey to individuals who practice this. They make themselves feel better by harassing, intimidating, insulting and/or assaulting others they consider
weaker than themselves or somehow different. Mostly, bullying is done in groups as the individual feels stronger or somehow empowered in a group egged on by others. There are those who do the bullying and there are those whose participation is kept to being on the sidelines. Think of the news recently and you will find many examples of bullies/cowards and those they target.
the most serious end of the spectrum you could say Bikie gangs and Terrorists are clear examples of bullies using extreme violence but there is the Cyber-bullies such as the Trolls who insult
and threaten others online. Of course, you could place those who engage in Domestic Violence in the bullying category and this would explain a lot. These people target
others they see as different to them and rely on the silent majority to do nothing. It is not much of a stretch from bullying behaviour to sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies.
Let me first say, I was a victim of school-yard bullying to the extent that I was removed from secondary college and finished
my schooling by correspondence. Now, I prefer to say I barely survived my school days. I was even part of a journalists report on bullying and home-schooling for some current affairs show,
I remember that my mum was interviewed although my recollection with much time having passed is extremely vague . It’s not something
to be proud of and it has left certain scars that have faded over time but never quite disappeared entirely. I have come a long way since those days and I credit travel and
further education in adulthood in part for my development. As a victim I had engaged in forms of bullying too, generally not physical but certainly I have made others feel
lesser by word and tone. I have to say, I regret those actions which caused anguish and upset in others. Even now, I have moments where I use inappropriate tone and volume to express frustration, not a particularly attractive trait.
There were times when I blamed myself for the bruises and insults bought upon my person and sometimes I would try to strike back but this just seemed to go awry. I tried to join groups or other individuals but for one reason or another, this never quite worked out the way intended. As part of trying to join I was tempted to engage in activities that weren’t necessarily right. From a child or teenage perspective it seemed
like the world was against me and it was unclear as to my part in it. I have learnt since that this is part of the dehumanising process of bullying. It got to the stage of low self-esteem and thoughts of suicide. Of course this has left its mark and in some small
way still affects certain social interactions. It does get better over time with support and understanding from family and friends.
However, we cannot let the bullies get away with what they do and take no responsibility for their actions.
In the school-yard, taunts, isolation and coward punches were common. How can one fight against that?? Often, people who seemed friendly were part of it or at the very least said nothing to stop it.
My fight or flight response was generally set to ‘flight’ mode but not being particularly fleet-footed made me an easy target. It wasn’t just other kids either, sometimes it was teachers who for one reason or another chose to engage in unprofessional, some might say ‘abusive’ behaviour. Included here are other staff, some were great but some would rather blame the victim than go after the culprits. Some of these professionals saw but would choose
to ignore what was happening.
My parents were caught between a belief in the
system and a certain over-protection along with a half-hearted message to ‘fight back’. My mum eventually wanted to ‘sue the school’ but the biggest
thing to happen was that I was driven to school one morning to get things from my locker and told it was my last day there. I didn’t know what was happening really
just happy not to return to that place. I have come to see that ‘that place’ was simply the last straw among several schools both public and private that I attended,
none of which contain particularly happy memories. Following that, school by correspondence was difficult but at least I was safe. Safe, yes but further isolated as
some of the kids were still in the neighbourhood, add that to going through teenage awkwardness generally and you get a picture. The point is, we shouldn’t have to take kids out of school to keep them safe.
Same as we shouldn’t have to run away from bullies at any time to keep us going in any situation.
It’s not something I want to dwell on, now I see that the real fault was not with me but the bullies and the system that lets this stuff happen. The silent majority do not have to be irrelevant in this. Many years have past and I have noticed that our media and institutions seem to be getting
the message and running campaigns aimed at stopping bullying. A quick search on the internet will tell you that the campaign is running a long way.
The message seems to be "if you're busy putting others down, then you will never reach the top!" This needs to be a message in the home as well as in school and in workplaces, in fact right across the board from
the earliest opportunity. One can only hope if this happens then maybe others will not turn to it in their lives and make many more victims. Much respect to the ‘victims’ out there, do not hide in the shadows people –you are ‘survivors’ and you should have your say, only then will things change for the better.