Bullying remains one of the few endemic abuses which society appears to tolerate.
What adults seem to tolerate as a childhood rite of passage it’s a harmful persecution which reveals itself within an environment – the school – whose safety is taken for granted, through different types of aggression.
Bullying hurts everyone, everywhere. Nevertheless the pattern of bullying is persecution.
Someone who is bullied is aware to be at the centre of a persecution. It doesn’t matter what the context is, who the persecutors are, what the root cause is, which the means and the forms are.
The persecution is ever the same.
The same are the mechanisms of generation, the same are the violence escalation, the same are the effect on the victims. No boundaries apply to bullying, neither cultural, nor geographical or socio-economic.
Everyone becomes a victim without doing anything. There are no exceptions.
There is no way to escape, no way to be sure of not being the next target.
You could be perfectly in the average, undistinguishing from the others, not standing out from the rest but this might not protect you from being bullied.
Bullying hits kids and teens numbing them emotionally, causing nightmares and sleep problems, impairing school performance and leading to aggressive behavior.
Bullying may also generates bullying. Bullied teens may become bullies. Every school is at risk, every kid, every teen.
Bullying can be subtle, both psychological (such as spreading rumors or excluding someone) and verbal (making threats or demeaning).
Prevention should be the golden rule. Everywhere it is necessary to take steps to stop it from happening. Prevention should be every school’ s responsibility.
Bullying endangers everyone’s safety in school and is also detrimental for the whole learning cycle. Indeed the violence spiral is always perverse.
Fright, vulnerability and stress at school are a powerful magnet for bullies’ systematic and continuous persecuting attitudes.
A hostile environment generates hostile interactions among pupils.
Fear feeling are more harmful in pupils than in adults. Rates of bullying in primary and in secondary are worrying.
But only a very few percentage of them tell a teacher or own parents being bullied.
And that circumstance has relevant implications, among the worst and more perverse consequences of bullying.
Firstly because keeping the silence with teachers and parents make them more and more weakened because they lack the support from those who could help them.
Secondly because for that reason they remain isolated, excluded, alone and fall easily prey to bullies.
Where are the peers?
Peers neither see nor listen. Neither help nor bully.
The peers abstein intervening, bystand apart and separate.
Unless they are made to feel they have an obligation to act, they will stay silent. Perhaps they are bullies’ accomplices.
But so by doing, they engage themselves in the persecutory mechanism as the bullies do and the bully’s gregaries.
Their silence strengthens the abuse. Those who deliberately tolerate the bullying-related abuse, silently collude with it.
What are the most common forms that bullying takes?
Bullying is often emotional, through exclusion, emargination, social outcast.
Physical bullying isn’t heavier than verbal or emotional one.
Emotional bullying is as heavy as the other form of bullying because the victim feel a deep and dark sense of insecurity and perceives themselves as being in a net, with no exit, crushed by the incapacity to face such enormous problem.
Bullied pupils can’t defend themselves; they don’t know how to face the perverse power a bully has over them.
Parents and school can’t let them alone. They have to listen to them even when they aren’t speaking.
They must pay attention to their behaviours, trying distinguishing changes, insecurity or early fear signals.
To raise awareness about bullying is a precise school responsibility and is up to school to intervene.
Who are the bully’s target ?
Anyone is the bully’s target.
But the ones more vulnerable and the weaker stay much more unsecure, defenceless and easily fall prey to persistent and neverending abuses and persecutory behaviours.
Bullied pupils are forced by fear being passive and silent. They don’t oppose, don’t refuse violence, don’t defend themselves because they are alone and feel alone. No one supports them, neither peers for fear of reprisals nor teachers who ignore the facts.
Encouraging the reporting of bullying along with a strong school policy and commitment to respect each other might be an immediate intervention.
Victims of bullying are more likely to develop mental health problems than other children, and bullies are also more likely to have problems as they get older.
In an effort to reduce violence and aggression in schools due to bullying, a large percentage of schools now offer programs that teach anger management, discourage bullying, teach tolerance or raise awareness about psychosocial risk related to bullying.
Depression is supposed to be often a problem for bullied children in adolescence due to social rejection and social outcast.
Parents need to be aware of such risk and be willing to talk about it with their kids and teens.