Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bullying is in the news again

‘Sticks and Stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is so far from the truth, and you don't realise that until you, your children or your family experience bullying, you don’t realise how far from real life this little ditty really is.

Bullying has been going on for as long as you, me, our fathers, and our fathers fathers’ and their fathers learned to walk and talk . This doesn’t make it right. But in this dog eat dog world it has become acceptable to put the weaker gender/person down for as long as possible for personal advantage. Bullies are often inept in social gatherings, they feel inferior, be it at school or work and they think that by standing over those that are better they will be able to force that person to leave or become submissive. Often (but not always) bullies are male, but there are some serious cases of females having engaged in this behaviour also.

There are various forms of bullying from young children, were the stronger child takes the toy from the weaker child and the weaker child ends up crying.

Then the older children, primary school age, where name calling and exclusion in team environments seems to be the preferred method of proving who is stronger.

Then the next stage is secondary school, where verbal bullying and physical violence becomes the normal method of inflicting mental and physical pain upon the weaker person. Along with stealing or removing and defacing property of those being bullied.

Then low and behold the bullying moves into the work environment, where more often than not, the bullying takes the form of mental abuse. Physical and verbal bullying can’t work in this environment because of workplace protection laws. The only time the regulations assist the bully is if the boss is ‘in on it’

There is another method of bullying that has not been documented or recorded and that is bullying by proxy, where physical, verbal or mental abuse it dished out by a third party at the encouragement of the instigator.

Recently, the news has been talking up the number of incidents involving knives in the school yard. Knives may be able to maim and kill, but so can words and fists. People need to understand as a society that one implement is not the only killer available to the bully.

Just last week there was a case in the news where a young woman decided to end it all because of workplace bullying. This is not right. But who could she turn to? Bullying is seen as a silent killer.

It doesn’t matter what age you are – you can succumb to bullying at any stage. A little like a virulent strain of the flu – one moment of weakness can cause you to become a victim, age nor gender is no barrier whatsoever.

If you are a teacher in the education system a good book that may be able to assist you and your school to become bully-free is “Shared Responsibility-Beating bullying in Australian Schools” by Ian Findley. This is a very concise book, that offers workable methods and solutions for the victim, the bully and the teacher. I have prsonally experienced the effect this teaching has had on someone close to me and I have nothing but praise.

If you are subject to bullying, at school or in the workplace, keep a diary of the events and when they happen and give that diary to your teacher or your boss. (keeping a copy for yourself) But the most important thing is not to allow yourself to become a victim, use your network of friends, family and teachers and bosses to help you beat the bully, and show him/her what their actions are doing.

You don’t have to do it alone, there are people out there ready and able to help you. But you have to accept that bullying is occuring before anyone is able to help you.

Life does goes on, even if now it seems that it can't. <-- This is from someone who knows!


  1. At least now it is recognised as a serious matter and steps are in place to deal with it, unlike when I was at school, and you too possibly.

  2. That's where the 'proxy' comes in - I have the scars to prove that!
    You live and learn - we both survived!