Being bullied sucks.
I got bullied a lot at school… primary school, high school and a bit at university.
Then I got bullied at one workplace.
Being bullied leaves scars
Whenever people who have not been bullied try to understand what I have been through, I refer to this piece.
You can find this at The Crumbled Piece of Paper, which I think is an excellent metaphor. While some may argue that you just need to “get over it,” or “grow up,” they are missing the fact that these scars remain. People are moulded and formed by these incidents in childhood and in their teenage years. It influences their personalities going forward in life as they learn strategies to cope.
Very quickly, many of the bullied learn to say nothing. They learn that if they say anything that results in school authorities reacting, the bullying gets worse. It’s even been proved that students at schools with anti-bullying initiatives are actually more likely to be victims of bullying than students who attend schools without such programs.
The reality is that once it is pointed out, the bullying gets worse because the bullied has self-identified as a weak person. The bully (and invariably their parents) will turn this into an emotional challenge. “My child is not a bully!”
The bullied student receives more bullying. Sometimes the bullied student snaps, and does things that most would not expect. The New York Daily News of March 14 2019, told a story about Abel Cedeno. A Bronx high school student stabbed two students on September 27, 2017, killing one and seriously injuring another. Cedeno claimed he committed the attack because his victims had been bullying him. His lawyer, Tom Shanahan, is suing the New York City Department of Education for failing to stop his client from being bullied. In other words, the murder is the fault of the NYC DOE.
The concept of “snitches get stitches” shows that it is true. Ultimately, they keep quiet, hoping that by saying nothing the bullying stops. Over time, the bullying stops because the bullies no longer react, and they move on.
New developments in cyber-bullying are frankly frightening, as talked about by a teacher.
Why it cannot be solved
Bullying cannot be solved because society is actively encouraging this sort of behaviour right now.
Every policy that talks about reporting bullies to authorities clearly fails.
The movement of bullying to online environments moves the territory for governance away from schools to other authorities. These authorities do not have the time or resources to manage the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of bullying problems within their jurisdiction. It also doesn’t help when young people create fake profiles to abuse others, whether it is a schoolmate or a random celebrity.
Abuse on social media is largely ignored, as it is taking place in an area that police believe they cannot have a say. Politicians are unwilling to get involved, as it may impact their own behaviour, which would be a bad thing (somehow).
The bullied stay quiet, and when someone eventually takes their own life, the typical platitudes come out from their schoolmates. Whenever I think about that, I think about this song.
Despite the song only touching on the issues of bullying, depression and anxiety, one thing that I always remember is that “Rowland explains that after his death many of his classmates mentioned either never talking to the boy or treating him as an outsider.” No one would be willing to stand up for the one that has passed away – unless they are popular.
Despite this music video being from nearly twenty years ago, it shows how important the message is. People are ignored if they are not important to the social cliques.
As a result, bullying will not be solved because it is not deemed as truly important. It is considered a minor issue that can solve itself or is conflated for some personal point that does not need to be dealt with. However, those that are hurt most by it know that they are being ignored. They are the ones that leave businesses or take their own lives.
Because of the lack of knowledge or authority to deal with the problem, bullying cannot be solved. Authorities cannot take a leading role in tackling the situation without being omnipresent in our lives. The presence they would need requires technology that does not currently exist and is easily circumvented through clever wordplay. Physical violence already exists, and there has been no cessation of that over time. Verbal, mental and emotional abuse will continue for millennia to come, and I, for one, pray for the children of generations to come that they learn how to treat people well.