The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Bullying doesn’t just happen in middle school or high school; bullying can happen anywhere to
anyone of any age. It can take place in the workplace, in college, the internet, at home,
anywhere. And it is up to us to know the signs and put a stop to it. October is Bullying Prevention month, and thus I want to raise proper awareness for the world of bullying.
Before we proceed, let’s go over the different types of bullying that many people might not even
Verbal Bullying: this may be already self-explanatory, but verbal bullying means to hurt or
embarrass someone using words. While it may start off mild, it can escalate. Some examples of
this form are name-calling, threatening someone, teasing someone, racist and homophobic slurs
Physical Bullying: This form of bullying means to hurt or harass someone using physical force.
this is the form of bullying that most people think of when they hear the word “bully”, which
puts the other forms of it in a difficult spot to be observed or paid much attention to. However,
just because one has not experienced bullying to this extent does not mean that they are not
suffering. Some examples of this form of bullying, however, include hitting, kicking, spitting on
someone, pushing, tripping someone, hair pulling, sexual harassment/ assault, and many other
forms of hurting others.
Social (covert) bullying: Even though this is the most common type of bullying, it is the hardest
to be detected because it happens behind the victim(s)’s back, and in my opinion, it is the most
condescending way to hurt someone. This form of bullying is to harm someone’s reputation or
social acceptance. The ways bullies achieve this is by lying on someone’s name, gossiping, or
spreading rumors about someone, staring people down as they walk by, leaving someone out and
even encouraging others to not like or mistreat someone.
Cyber bullying: A lot of you may know what this means already because this is also what most
people think about when they hear the word bully, as it is the most talked about. This form of
bullying means to bully someone over the internet, through social media or any social
networking platform. Some examples of this are lying about someone or spreading rumors
through social media, sending threats to someone through a social platform, stalking someone,
making fake accounts and group chats just to harass someone, sending hurtful messages to
someone, taking embarrassing or hurtful pictures or videos of someone without their knowledge
or consent, and the list goes on!
A lot of people do not even realize that everyone has a role when it comes to bullying. At one
point or another, you were the bully, or you were the victim, or maybe you were the one co-signing with the bully, maybe you co-signed with the victim, or maybe you saw the bullying and
did something about it, maybe you even watched it and did nothing. But at one point or another
in your life, we have all had some type of role when it came to bullying. Unfortunately, there has been so much talk about this subject, yet many people refuse to even do
something about it when they see it happen or when they know it’s happening. And now that you
are aware of it, you can do something to help stop it.
The most obvious thing to do if you are bullied or see someone being bullied is to speak up! See
something? Say something! Even if you don’t say anything to the bully, you can talk to the
victim, letting them know that they are not alone and that what they’re going through isn’t their
fault. But don’t stop there, tell anyone you think can do something about it, and if they’re not
doing something about it, tell someone else! Tell a teacher, professor, the principal, other
students, parents, pastors, therapists, close friends and family members, tell anyone what you’re
going through or seeing until something is done about it.
Another important thing that you could do if you are bullied is, and though this may sound cliché
it truly works; pray about it! Even if you are not a religious person, it couldn’t hurt you to at least
try it. Take it from me, God truly does allow you to overcome lots of difficult situations and He
could help you overcome this as well.
My message to those who have watched someone get bullied: please do something about it.
For all you know, you could be saving a life. According to bestdaypsych.com, bullying can cause
different levels of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Additionally, as I have mentioned in
my book How I Overcame Middle School, which is about middle school bullying, there are about
4,400 deaths by suicide amongst young people per year and it is the third leading cause of death
among youth (pacer.org). And while there is no known direct connection between bullying and
suicide, it is known that there is a connection between school shooters and bullying. [FYI:
Murder is never morally justified]
So, while it may not seem like that big of a deal to you, or you might think it won’t escalate that
high or maybe you’re worried that if you say something that you’ll get teased by your peers.
Well, I’m here to let you know that there is absolutely nothing embarrassing about standing up
for those in need. In fact, it is known that standing up against injustice, even when it doesn’t
affect you personally, makes others respect you more. But don’t just do it for the respect aspect,
do it because you know deep down inside that you are doing the right thing.
A quick message for people who have had someone tell you they or someone else is being
bullied; don’t brush it off! Especially if you are a parent or school administrator. Parents, please
encourage your children to stand up for themselves or stand up for others when they are bullied.
And school administrators, if a child is bullied and they stand up for themselves, if you need to
punish the student for standing up for themselves punish the bully too! I cannot tell you how
many times I’ve heard or seen victims get into trouble with schools simply for defending
themselves against a bully. Or at least step in and stop the bullying before it gets to an extreme
level, so the child will not even feel the need to defend themselves.
Bullying is a very big deal regardless of how severe, and the tricky part is it’s not always
physical. So just because what you have heard isn’t as bad as you might’ve seen, heard or
experienced should not invalidate how that person is feeling. Everyone has different tolerance
levels and breaking points, and because someone has a different tolerance level than you, that
does not mean they are weak, sensitive, or dramatic. In fact, comments like these are highly
insensitive and makes victims and bystanders feel as though they are supposed to keep their
emotions to themselves and causes them to suffer in silence. A person should be able to express
their emotions freely without fear of being judged or pushed aside.
And finally, my message to people who are bullied; don’t lose hope. Please, keep holding on. I
know it may seem hard now but take it from me, one day you will overcome this and then look
back and be amazed at yourself. Remember what you’re going through isn’t your fault and you
do not need to change anything about yourself for other people.