Please do not wait for another headline to find out that bullying is still a serious issue. People of all ages are being mistreated in the very places they live, learn, and work. The World Health Organization reports that nearly 300 million children regularly suffer from physical and/or psychological abuse at the hands of their parents and caregivers. School is oftentimes not a safe place either. In the United States, reportedly 1 in 5 students ages 12-18 has been bullied during the school year. Also, 55% of college students involved in clubs, athletics, or Greek organizations, have experienced some form of hazing. The rate of workplace bullying is just as alarming. According to a survey conducted in January 2021 by the Workplace Bullying Institute, an estimated 48.6 million Americans have personally endured bullying at work.
What is going on here?! Not only is bullying a problem, it is pervasive. Like the Big Bad Wolf, this issue keeps knocking on the door of each era seeking new victims. What started off as poking fun decades ago is now full blown violence. The good news is that society is always just 1 generation away from redemption. Yet, the sacrifice must go way beyond Bullying Prevention Month. Creating a nation that does not tolerate bullying at any level will require ongoing, assertive efforts to increase awareness at all levels - beginning with the definition:
Bully - a person who consistently and unremorsefully attacks the wellness of another person
Notice the words “a person,” which means that this human can be big or small, red or yellow, black or white - this literally means anyone.
The next word “consistently” means repetition is present. It is frequent - not an isolated, random incident.
“Unremorsefully” means the person is not genuinely sorry. Although “Lo siento,” “I apologize,” or “My bad” may be said, the lack of remorse is apparent; because there is no change of behavior.
“Attacks” is a strong word and it has been appropriately used here, because the intent behind a bully’s actions is to always cause some form of damage or injury. Regardless if the maltreatment is physical, verbal, mental or emotional - harm to another person’s well-being is desired. Thus, what we are really facing here is human on human violence. Although the behavior of most bullies is not violent enough to warrant incarceration, it is certainly malevolent enough to create living hell for someone else; and the victims are far from few.
To address this cycle of abuse, we need to look back at childhood. Studies show that adults who are bullies were most likely child victims of bullying and/or bullied other children as a child.
The next blog in this series will highlight the 3 most important traits we must demonstrate and cultivate within the next generation to create a future of adults who honor human dignity in everyone regardless of differences or disagreements.
Bullies have actually been around since the beginning. To check out the profiles of some of the earliest antagonists in history, click here.
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