Making A Stand Against Bullying
Bullies Are Seemingly Everywhere
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself.”
~ Harvey S. Firestone
I do not have the latest statistics on bullying. In truth, I don’t care what they are. I do not need a sociological survey to tell me about bullying; I have seen it during my entire lifetime. It existed when I was a child; it exists today. The pain was every bit as real fifty years ago as it is today.
I suspect that bullying has been a part of mankind’s travels on this planet since the first caveman asserted his superior strength and forced some skinny dweeb to gather stones for him. However, having stated my recognition of that fact, I do not accept bullying in any way, shape, or form.
According to the go-to standard of information, Wikipedia, bullying is: the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race,religion,gender,sexuality, or ability. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "target".
All well and good, and my thanks to Wikipedia for stating the obvious, but perhaps we need to look a little more deeply into this subject, since bullying does not appear to be diminishing in this society of ours.
What Makes a Bully?
Let’s go to the source of the problem, the bullies themselves. Why do bullies become bullies? What is there in one person that makes them want to use force to abuse or intimidate others? A fair question for sure!
Psychiatrists tell us that bully behavior is a sign of envy, fear, jealousy, resentment, anger, narcissism, and/or low self-esteem. I get it; most of us can understand that on an intellectual level. Certainly some people, when suffering from anger issues, or who are jealous, might strike out at others. Many might suffer bullying at home and thus mirror that in their own actions.
Again, all well and good, but you are going to have to forgive me (well, you don’t have to forgive me at all now do you?) when I say that I don’t much care what causes bullying. I leave that kind of study and introspection to the professionals. All I know, from a human standpoint, is that bullying is harmful and as such it affects me.
How can that be you ask? I am sixty-four years old; surely I am not bullied, so how does bullying affect me? Well, the fact is that no, I am not being bullied, and haven’t been for quite some time, but still, if bullying is happening in society, and I am a member of society, then it affects me. Period!
Where Does Bullying Occur?
Can you say everywhere? Much has been made of the bullying that occurs in practically every school in the world, but that really is just the tip of the iceberg.
Bullying occurs in the marketplace. Bullying occurs in the homes. Bullying occurs in the workplace, at sporting events, at the park and among nations in the political arena. Bullying occurs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and yes, on the day of rest, Sundays. Bullying can occur during the summer, during the fall, the winter, and the spring. It can occur to a five year old child and it can occur to an eighty-five year old widow.
It knows no boundaries, it infects every nook and cranny of society, and it must be stopped.
And who, you ask, is going to stop it?
You and I!
Excellent article by Stephanie
- Girl Bullies: Females Bullying Becoming More Common
Why do girls bully each other? Has there been a rise in female bullying? How can we address it?
A Blast from the Past
Yes, we are going to talk about my father again; I can’t help it. Some of life’s most important lessons were taught to me by that man, so when I think of a subject like bullying, I naturally think of the man who taught me how to confront bullying.
I was a scrawny mutt in elementary school, so a certain amount of bullying could be expected. Add to that the fact that I was a Catholic kid attending a Catholic school in the 50’s, and all the ingredients were there to produce a rather constant variety of bullying.
Daily I would take the school bus home, being dropped off ten blocks from home, and daily I had to walk those ten blocks, knowing that I would be facing the Protestant bullies who defended their turf with gusto. Most afternoons I came home with bruises and scrapes after having run the gauntlet of taunts and abuse. Dad would come home from work, take a look at my latest assortment of wounds, and tell me that the only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. I would sniff back tears and explain that I was getting my ass kicked in the process, and he would calmly explain that the pain I was feeling then was nothing compared to the pain I would feel if I ran away from the bullies.
It took me years to understand that lesson, but today I understand it quite well. Bullies must never be allowed to exert their will without meeting resistance, and if the resistance cannot come from the party being bullied, then it needs to come from others who are aware of it.
I don’t need a psychiatrist or sociologist to sort out my feelings about bullies. They must be stopped at every corner at which they appear. They must meet objections every single time they slink out of the shadows and attempt to see the light of day. Bullies cannot be tolerated and for that, I am responsible, and so is every other member of society. Period!
A wonderful TedTalks
Those are two fairly clear words….zero tolerance! There is no wiggle room in those two words. Bullying can never be tolerated in society. History is littered with stories of dictators who eventually met their match in the form of resistance. They were toppled, and those who follow in their footsteps today will be toppled as well.
Spousal abuse and child abuse is prevalent in society today, as it has been in the past. It must be called out for what it is, cowardice, bullying, and unacceptable. We cannot turn our heads and pretend it isn’t happening because it isn’t happening to us.
The schoolyard bullies must have their collective ass kicked, so that every child is safe to grow up as a child, without fearing each and every day of their existence.
Ulysses S. Grant, when asked for terms of surrender after his siege of Fort Donelson, responded by saying he would only accept, “unconditional and complete surrender.” That is how I feel about bullies in our society. There are no terms of surrender for bullies. They must be made to stop, and if the bullied cannot do that then the rest of us must do it.
WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO GET INVOLVED IF YOU WITNESSED BULLYING?
But I Might Get Hurt
Yes, we might get hurt in this struggle, but the alternative is to allow others to continue to be hurt, and I don’t know about all of you, but for me that is unacceptable.
It starts out as such a small thing. One kid getting picked on at the playground; then another, and another, and suddenly we have an epidemic of unchecked bullying.
One neighborhood allows a gang to dictate terms of life, and then another, and another, and suddenly we have an epidemic of gang-related violence and mob-rule.
One country has its will controlled, and then another, and another, and suddenly you have an entire region dancing to the tune of oppression.
Yes, we might get hurt in this struggle, but I know of one thing that will hurt more….to run away from the fight, and in so doing feel the shame for the rest of our lives.
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)