Mary Douglas is a girl I met a few weeks ago and is a victim of verbal and physical bullying. She gets bullied due to an eating disorder she has, that causes her to look overweight. In addition to this, she is from an African American background, which only made her more of a target. Kids started making fun of her and calling her names. It made her devalue herself and it made her doubt her opinions. Physical and verbal bullying only decreased her self-worth. She suffered from injuries, and it killed her self-confidence: ‘Words scar’. She told me that a few days ago, she heard her mother crying in the toilet and soon found out that her father had said something rude to her. Her mother was also getting bullied by the people at her workplace because she wanted to be a famous worldwide singer. This rumor had spread all the way to her boss, which made the situation worse. This ruined her mother’s reputation in front of her boss. Like the quote expressed before, ‘Rumors destroy.’ This prevented Mary from asking her mother for assistance and advice on how to overcome this issue. She said that her best friend, Sarah, was being cyberbullied because she was friends with Mary. She told me that she felt everyone around her was affected by bullying, so, to find out what she could do to help, she got out her laptop. For the next hour, she researched about bullying and found out that from the Cyberbullying Research Center, girls (36.3%) get cyberbullied more than boys (30.7%). Of those who had experienced bullying, 24% had suicidal thoughts: ‘Bullies kill’. Mary told me that her grandmother had been harassed by thugs. She had been threatened by saying that the thugs would ‘dance on their graves’. As Mary said all of this, I realized that talking to me had helped her release the tension built up inside of her. She told me that she found out that her bully started bullying her because of the pain he felt when his parents divorced. He wanted to take out his pain and anger on someone more inferior and vulnerable to him.
Bullying is a worldwide social justice issue that affects the whole of society. This can happen in schools/universities, at home, at work, on the Internet and in the street. For an act to be classified as bullying, it must be done with hostile intent, including an imbalance of power, repetition, distress and provocation. The ones who experience the brunt of this issue are children, as they do not know how to control their thoughts and emotions. In many countries, campus ragging occurs all the time (when the older students force the new students to do embarrassing acts). Adults experience bullying at home, which is known as domestic bullying. Bullying at workplaces is also on the rise.
There are many types of bullying as well. Hurtful words, unkind rumors and physical bullying. Hurtful words can leave a deep impression on a person, and make them belittle themselves in comparison to others. Unkind rumors can destroy a reputation a person has made for themselves and change the way others think of that person. It can destroy friendships and leave a person alone. Physical bullying can lead to serious injuries and sometimes life-threatening thoughts. Harassment is linked to bullying and this is what the elderly face today.
Some countries, such as Australia, is doing something about this issue. The law that is warning online abusers is called ‘Dolly’s Law’. They will face a 5-year imprisonment penalty if any of their actions cause others to fear physically or mentally. ‘Dolly’s Law’ is an important signal for everyone using technology.
I believe that bullying has seeped into our society and it needs to stop. How it can be stopped? Well, government legislation, school interference and family support, should do the job. Whether you are a parent, a child, a boss, employee, manager or janitor, bullying cuts in deep. It can hit everyone from anywhere. But by supporting each other and being active bystanders, this issue can come to an end.