Safety First: Bullies and Victims

Bullying Hurts and Keeps on Hurting

Bullying is a serious problem and it is common in some schools. It can have a lasting and devastating effect on both the victim and the bully. If you or someone you know is being bullied, it’s important to tell someone. Bullying has no place in a safe school. You can help by talking about bullying to a trusted adult or friend if it is happening around you.

Typically, bullying is repeated, cruel behaviour where the bully exercises some kind of power over the victim. Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking or punching or destruction of personal property. It is the most basic type of bullying and can be very dangerous.

Verbal bullying is when the bully uses words to harm or intimidate the victim. Name calling, insults, racist or sexist remarks, threats and constant teasing are all common types of bullying. This can be the easiest to inflict and, although not visible on the surface, it can leave terrible emotional scars.

Bullies act the way they do for a number of reasons — sometimes to make themselves feel tough or in charge, or to make themselves feel popular. They might be jealous of the person they are bullying. In many cases, the bully has been bullied themselves.

Sometimes young people are bullied because they are different in some way. The colour of their skin, their name, their size or the way they walk can make them targets.

If you are being bullied, remember that you don’t have to put up with it. You can seek help.

Talking to someone doesn’t mean you’re being a “rat” or a “snitch”. Bullying is unacceptable, and it must be stopped. Find someone you can trust, and talk to them. If you find it difficult to talk, write it down and give it to them.

You can also try to ignore the bully, or use humour to defuse the situation. Avoid fear and anger — the bully thrives on these emotions. Remember that bullies generally have low self-esteem problems and tend to bother everyone.

Understand that you are not the problem, the bully is.

It’s also important to stop bullying whenever you witness it. Support the person being bullied and never give a bully positive reinforcement.