gerund or present participle: bullying
use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
A bully can take on many forms: A psychological bully (excluding individuals, spreading rumors), or physical bully (hitting, pushing, taking a someone’s possessions), cyber bullying (the use of social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites to carry out a bullying vendetta) or a verbal bully (making threats, name-calling).
Some take verbal bullying lightly. They fail to realize our words are capable of causing pain. What you may think as teasing can be bullying to someone else when it is repetitive, there is a fine line. At times, teasing is performed with a conscious intent to hurt another individual.
Most victims of bullying are often shy and appear to be physically weaker than their peers. They may also possess low self-esteem, poor social skills, an illness, a physical or mental disability or elderly which makes it hard for them to stand up for themselves. Bullies consider these types of individuals as safe targets because they usually don’t retaliate.
Bullying behavior is prevalent throughout the world and it spans across socio-economic, racial/ethnic, cultural lines and age ranges, cultural lines and even can spill over into all relationships, including workplace relations. In fact, an article by Nicola Middlemiss for HRM New Zealand, poses the question, ‘Has workplace bullying reached an epidemic level?’ MSN reported that an 8-year old committed suicide 2 days after being attacked in a school restroom. According to nobullying.com, researchers estimate that 20 to 30 percent of school-age children are involved in bullying situations; they are either the perpetrator or the victim. The Washington Post’s, Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Susan Svrluga reported on a fraternity hazing at Penn State campus lead to the death of Timothy Piazza. That’s 2 lives cut tragically short. Weather we choose to discuss it or not, there are countless individuals bullied to death on a daily basis and other victims who are just suffering in silence. It can become rather common for a person to witness bullying and not report it at all.
In todays society, it appears easier to deal with the issues of the world by not carrying empathy for victims of bullying and telling ourselves ‘It’s not my problem.’ We all fall victim to bullying behavior, in some form or another, if we don’t raise our voice and raise awareness. What ‘isn’t our problem’ today, may very well be our (or someone we care about) circumstance tomorrow.
Guest Blogger: Antony Suarez-Smith