Bullying, according to Wikipedia is the use of force, threat, or
coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual.
We have all been bullied at one point in our lives, or we were the bullies.
When I was in primary school, primary one to be precise I was like a Queen Bee, I gave orders and people followed it. I was bossy and I had loyal followers lol.
One day, we were playing in the class and I told one of them to do something, I have forgotten what it was but I could remember I gave the girl – Tasnim is her name a ‘detty’ slap and she slapped me right back! I was stunned, colour me stunned, and I couldn’t say a word or slap her again lest she punches my eyes out. That was only the beginning.
We went out during the break period and we were all playing again, then I rose up and asked another girl to go do something and she refused as well! I didn’t bother slapping her, I was so ashamed of myself, I told them I was not going to play with them again and they scoffed as I walked off. I regretted it, I was on my own for days until I apologized.
That was years ago but I came face to face with bullying when I got to Jss1, there is always the oldest more experienced girl who is always in classes she ought not to be, I was unfortunate to be her friend, she had me and other girls in her cocoon, she first fed us with sob stories then later she started collecting money, food and clothes, yes clothes! from us like it’s no man’s business. Failure to do that means you are going to be on your own for as long as you deem it fit to pay her the dues, for as long as you can handle the malice she’d keep with you. If you choose to call her bluff which I did, get ready to have nasty rumours of things you have never done flying around school, get ready to be taunted by boys she had under her fingers, in fact get ready to be beefed and hated by everyone in school!
She made my life hell during those periods, I would get to the school gate every morning with a pounding chest, at times I wish I got afflicted with a horrible illness so I could skip school, she damaged me emotionally and psychologically, yes I was a child but I knew how to keep malice perfectly by the time I turned 12! Heaven forbids me apologizing or talking to the person first even if I was wrong, she told everyone who cared to listen that I have an incurable mouth odour and she cut out a newspaper heading about Halitosis for me to read!
I spent the better years of my life covering my mouth when I am talking with other people for fear of chasing them away with “my bad breath”. I still think I have mouth odour till date!.
Bullying affects a child in ways you can never imagine and yes, it often starts in school, you may be surprised to know bullying can start from daycare if care is not taken, there is always the grumpy kid who kicks his peers in the faces because he wants mama or more food.
Bullying comes in different forms, among which are
– The Internet Bully
– Taunts, threats and jeers
– Malicious rumours
– Physical assaults
– Theft of personal belongings or coercion
Parents usually turn blind eyes to bullying by scolding their kids and calling them weak, the child feels weak and defenseless as well making him or her a constant prey in the hands of the bully.
Some parents breed bullies by being aggressive and forcing other people to do what they want, children pick up habits. Some have really bad and poor upbringing while others are bullies due to the kind of movies they watch which are often violent. Some children spend the whole day watching WWE.
Some do not even report the bullying because they think they are old enough to handle their own problems, others do not report the bullying so that it won’t intensify when the appropriate authorities fail to handle the situation properly, this leaves the bullied feeling more hopeless while the bully continue to have a field day at the detriment of the victim.
Victims of bullying often turn out to be bullies, they bully others in order to make themselves invulnerable to bullying from others this only worsen the situation as people that get bullied by the victim turned bully can steer towards the same path.
We are used to watching American high school movies and seeing the unpopular people get bullied for their choice of outfits, their look, their hair or their brain, yes intelligent people get bullied too, they are maliciously called “nerd” and this word is made to sound as offensive as possible. But no, we are in Africa and yes, bullying is real.
Parents are not immune to bullying, it may be surprising to most of us all that our parents could be getting bullied day in day out by colleagues at work, their boss, their friends, neighbours, the big tough woman down the street or (whispers) their own relatives.
WHY DO PEOPLE BULLY?
– To feel powerful
– To hide their insecurities
– Broken home
– Abuse which could be physical, mental or sexual.
So, how do we deal with bullying? We deal with bullying by first looking at how we are getting bullied, the place, people involved and the type of help to get.
For INTERNET BULLYING, best thing to do is to ignore, ignore the bully so bad that it looks like you are totally not getting their hate mails or offensive comments on your post. Do not post sorry status updates about people trying to pull you down or make you sad, this will only make it worse. IGNORE and tell yourself no amount of Internet bullying is worth losing sleep over and yes, few years from now you’d be so successful in your endeavors that social media would not dictate the way your life is going to be set. Disable comments on pictures on Instagram if your bully lurks around IG, block offensive remarks, delete hate comments. When you keep deleting and you don’t pay them attention, they back off except when they are really delusional and would not stop, then you should know they are wearing a very unflattering colour which is GREEN.
For TAUNTS, THREATS AND JEERS, report to appropriate authorities, if it gets out of hand report to the police never let threats go unreported do not think of it as empty, when you get taunted hold your head high and smile as you get called funny names. You can even play witty with a name like ‘fugly baboon’ you can twist it around and say ‘how about bugly faboon, I’d prefer that’. That would stop them in their tracks for you have turned the joke on them.
For MALICIOUS RUMOURS, breathe deeply, hold your head high and think of happy places, so what if you kissed so so so or you didn’t? Never ever explain yourself to anybody, people would still believe what they want to believe, pretend to be confident with time you would become a master pretender at being confident and before you know it, you are confident. Do not let the whispering get to you, plug in your ear piece and listen to your favourite jam, when you look confident and totally sure of yourself, no big bad bully would want to cross your path!.
For PHYSICAL ASSAULTS, never let things escalate, it might start with shoving when you meet you could always move away until you are sure you are always their target, when you get shoved next time, shove them back, when you get pushed, push back, if you get slapped in the process, slap back!. Once you ignore the little physical assault it would escalate, fighting back when it is not yet full-blown would tell them you are not one to be messed with!
For THEFTS OF PERSONAL BELONGINGS OR COERCION, challenge them, it is your stuff and nobody has any right to take it from you. And never ever let anyone force you to do what you do not what to do.
Darling, you are way above bullying and bullies, never ever let it get to you, people make others miserable when they see them as threat, you are a threat do not fret and continue to excel at what you do, it would make you more powerful they want to see you back down, nothing would bring a bully more satisfaction than seeing you crumble. So walk high, be stronger, grow and watch your bullies fall at your feet!.
You can help other victims of bullying too by standing up for them when they are getting bullied.
NB: If you are a bully, desist from such act, you are causing yourself more harm than the people you bully. You don’t know but it affects you too. Why not use your time profitably? Instead of scheming how else to hurt others, believe me there is a spark in you waiting to become an ember.