Bullies – You Don’t Get a Cookie for Feeling Bad

Published March 2, 2012 by sleepydumpling

So this article went around Twitter pretty rapidly today, with lots of comments about how heartbreaking it is and how understanding bullies is so important.  Not to mention the words “brave” and “honest” in reference to the interviewee.

Yeah… I’m not jumping on that bandwagon.  I think this is another example of everyone focusing on the perpetrator and not the victim.  Oh the interviewee is regularly crying “Mea culpa!” throughout the piece, but then she also turns around and brags about how cunning she was, how her manipulative behaviour got her through situations where she was almost caught out for the bully that she was.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got no time for focusing on understanding bullies.  I understand them perfectly – they want to make other people feel bad to make themselves feel better, they get away with it, so they do it.  Our culture makes excuses for bullies, so bullies continue to behave the way they do.

Instead of focusing on those “brave and honest” bullies (I find nothing brave nor honest about the interviewee of this piece), we should be making it clear that their behaviour is unacceptable, and that they have to take responsibility for their actions.  There have to clear repercussions for bullying behavior – social ostracisation to start with.  Instead of dredging up sympathy for these people, we need to make it clear that their behaviour is simply unacceptable.

I have been bullied several times throughout my life.  I’ve written about my childhood experiences of bullying before.  I’ve also been bullied in as an adult, and in that case, it was by someone who had clearly got away with repeat offenses of bullying, and found it perfectly acceptable to continue doing so.  It wasn’t until I found the guts to stand up as the victim, (it was a hell of a fight because everyone wanted me to “understand the bully”), and said “This is not acceptable, I will not be treated like this.”  It was only that I found the strength to demand that this person take some responsibility for their actions that made it stop.  As the victim, I had to be the one to put in all the work.

What is wrong with that picture?

Why are we forcing victims to go through absolute hell to stop the perpetrators?  Surely we should be punishing perpetrators, not victims of bullying.

While talking on Twitter earlier today, @VoteGilligan tweeted the following that I just have to share:

I agree.  Bullies need to understand themselves – it’s not up to victims to understand them.  It’s up to the bullies to do the work.  Once they start to look at their own behaviour, and do something about it, perhaps then we can then move forward.  It’s not up to the victims to feel sympathy for them.

Why are we teaching our kids how to avoid being bullied and to have sympathy for bullies, instead of teaching them how not to be a bully?

What bothers me most about the woman interviewed in the article is how she repeatedly says that she thinks the reason she did it was because she was being abused at home, because she suffered mental illness and because she felt bad about herself.  Lots of us were abused at home.  Lots of us suffer mental illness.  Lots of us suffer from low self esteem.  Some of us, like myself, suffered from all three.  But many of us that suffer those things don’t bully people to make ourselves feel better.

The only redeeming quality of the interview in the article is that the interviewee does state that she believes that bullies have to be held responsible for their actions.  However, I get the feeling that she has never done so.  Oh she feels bad, but her feeling bad doesn’t undo what she has done, nor does it help her victim at all.  And I daresay it doesn’t deter future bullies at all either.

So the bully feels bad about what she has done.  So she should.  She has to live with the consequences of her actions.  I’m not going to give her a cookie for doing what we all need to do – take responsibility for our own actions.

Until we take a zero tolerance stand on bullying in every aspect of our lives, it won’t go away.  I believe the acceptance of bullying is the root cause of all abuse in our culture.  If bullies get away with targeting an individual, they’re going to continue that behaviour on to anyone they believe is lesser than them – be that of class, gender, sexuality, race, size, ability, appearance… you name it.  Intolerance and bigotry are just systematic, institutionalised bullying.

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37 comments on “Bullies – You Don’t Get a Cookie for Feeling Bad

  • Yes, Yes, Yes. I maintain a zero tolerance policy against bullying, even if I can’t come up with an appropriate response at the time, I’ll fake it till I make it. The impact I want to make is that they better pull their heads in, because not every victim is going to take it. I am SO F’ING TIRED of hearing of bullies and criminal rights over that of the victim. Or when people come to their defence saying “he/she is actually quite nice” … NO. Nice people don’t do bullying and abuse.

    • Hear hear Kitt. “Nice” people don’t bully and abuse others. I actually had someone on Twitter today try to tell me that “normal” people are bullies. Ummm… no.

  • Oh I call bullsh*t. I’ve heard similar pieces,usually about what a hard life the bullies have had and that’s why they can be excused and we should understand them. Oh boo hoo. I was abused and neglected severely and bullied at school, and raped and stalked later on.. and NEVER did I bully another person. It’s never an excuse. i choose not to take my anger or hurt or sadness out on another human being and to own my actions and they can too.

  • Good post. I agree. Like you, I think most bullies continue to bully because they’ve never been held accountable. The person that abused me, for instance, had abused other people before me (!!!) or was known as abusive by authority figures in his life, and what happened? They made excuse after excuse for him (or believed his pity-inducing sociopathic crap) and hence, the monster kept monstering until he got to me. I think I was the first person to hold him accountable, and I only did that under extreme, extreme duress (basically he threatened to kill me several times).

    I think I try to ‘understand’ bullies only in that I’m a fiction writer and would like to write believable villains/antagonists. But really, you don’t have to go too far down that rabbit-hole to see what’s going on.

    • It’s the same story over and over – bully abuses someone, people tell victim to avoid bullying/change behaviour, make excuses for bully, victim leaves/gives in, bully goes on to abuse the next person. Until we have a complete zero tolerance for it, it will never stop.

  • Is anyone else flashing back to the eighties when Ronald Reagan famously laid a wreath for Holocaust ‘victims’ in Germany… at a cemetery that held mostly the remains of SS officers?

    Bullies will bully others until they are stopped. They will do it as long as it’s a socially acceptable outlet for their bad feelings about themselves. I can feel plenty sorry for the injustices done to them so long as someone stands up with me and helps me tell them that it doesn’t fucking excuse their injustices to anyone else on the damn planet.

    The cycle of abuse continues in large part because people continue to accept unacceptable behavior and tell the victims to be more sympathetic to their abusers. When I was attacked at school over and over and over again, I kept being told to stop doing whatever it was that was making the bullies hit me, steal my property, spit in my hair, kick me, and whatever else they felt that doing to the smallest, weakest kid in class would profit them. What could I do? I couldn’t grow six inches, and I couldn’t stop being me. Not one teacher or administrator ever told the kids who were assaulting and abusing me NOT TO HURT OTHER PEOPLE.

    There will always be those whose nature makes them more likely to harm others. There will always be those who would rather fix their wounds by wounding others than seeking wisdom for themselves. But you know what? If it suddenly truly became socially unacceptable to harm others who are convenient victims, some of those potential bullies will find some other, less harmful way of coping.

    • “The cycle of abuse continues in large part because people continue to accept unacceptable behavior and tell the victims to be more sympathetic to their abusers.”

      YES Twistie! YES!

      One of the key reasons bullied kids commit suicide is because people tell them to stop doing whatever it is they’re doing to make the bullies pick on them. So they reason that the only way to do that is stop existing. Because in all honesty, that usually is the only thing that will stop bullies attacking someone other than being punished for their bullying – completely removing the victim. It breaks my heart that so many people feel that the only way to make it end is to end everything.

  • My school acknowledged they had bullies and dealt with them promptly, I was never made to feel like I was to blame. After one incident of physical bulling (I’d mouthed off, but she was baiting me for a fight) I admitted my part but they still felt the treatment I got was unacceptable and suspended the girl.

    All the bullying lessened after that. We need to accept there is a problem and find solutions.

    If a bully is doing it because they have issues then stop the bullying and get counsellors involved to prevent the bully moving on to a victim that wont say anything. But the first step is always to stop the bullying.

    • I agree – I went to a school with a serious zero tolerance policy for bullying. There was still bullying but it was always very short-lived. Unfortunately, the new headmaster who was appointed in the last two years I was there decided that it was more “Christian” to try to understand and forgive the bullies, and the entire anti-bullying program collapsed. It didn’t affect me too much, but it did affect my younger brothers who also attended that school. People in power can make a huge difference to people’s lives by paying attention and stopping bullying, but they need to be consistent and determined.

    • Interesting piece Kris – particularly the observations that many people who were bullied in their youth now have their bullies trying to friend them on Facebook. I’ve been through that myself.

      Thanks for the share.

  • Always a big fan of yours, and thank you, THANK YOU for bringing in some much needed perspective on this.

    I too, have stories about the extreme bullying and abuse that went on at school after school, with no support from my family or school administrators. I still have physical and emotional scars that I will carry the rest of my life. I’ve also been the victim of workplace bullying that was deeply demoralizing and hurt my career. I am proud and happy I have moved on to a place where I can be safe, but I always want to speak up when I think I can stop bullying.

    I’m not sure how others here feel, but I don’t participate in popular social networking sites because I WILL NOT have the experience of having one of my abusers try to apologize to me online. I don’t suffer over this every day anymore, but more importantly, it’s NOT MY JOB to offer them forgiveness. If not being able to reach me gives them a touch of remorse, then maybe, just maybe they will make sure their kids break the cycle, ya know?

    But this is what you said that struck me:
    Why are we teaching our kids how to avoid being bullied and to have sympathy for bullies, instead of teaching them how not to be a bully?

    My best friend adopted a child from a foreign orphanage. She is hard-wired for competition and pitting herself against her peers-this saved her life as she got enough food that way. Now that she is in middle school, she is blossoming into a bona fide mean girl. My friend and I have worked hard with her, and want her to know the consequences of any bully action. I’ve revealed what it was like to be on the other side. Still, she struggles to act appropriately. And gets let off by teachers and administrators who help her make excuses when she doesn’t.

    I work with teachers and schools professionally, and I have searched HARD for curriculum, materials, counselors and resources to help the parents of bullies who see it and want to stop it. There are two or three good books, and that is ALL. I’m disgusted that the resources are all geared towards how to get your kid to stand up to bullies, but not about how to counsel the bullies out of their behavior and enforce standards that stop it.
    I’m happy to share what I’ve found, but it’s meager indeed.

    Thanks for opening up this discussion. We all need to be the grownups here and stop bullying at the heart.

    • It’s so hard when we are scarred from bullying ourselves to find the strength to fight it elsewhere. We shouldn’t have to, but our voices are the important ones in the situation, because we’re the ones that have suffered.

      I have some pretty strict rules in place about social media and I won’t have anything to do with anyone who has bullied me in the past. I block them if they approach me, instantly.

      And you are absolutely correct Chutti – none of us owe anyone forgiveness. We owe ourselves peace with the pain we have been through, but to hell with being obligated to forgive those who have abused us.

      • Thanks for your insights about Social Media. Maybe I’m deluded that a little mystery opens up the avenue for bullies to be a little more introspective. Dunno, but it works for me.

        I still think there is a small (maybe not as small as I think) group of concerned folks who KNOW kids who bully and work to stop it. My big concern is how to support them. If there is not a zero tolerance policy, if there are not other concerned adults on board outside the home, it’s very hard to make sure there are consequences for these kids who do bully.

        I recognize my niece’s situation is different, but I wonder how many parents are trying to do this on their own without support from schools. Interestingly, my friend actually took her kids out of the private school associated with their church because of the bully issue. Talking about the golden rule in religion class was not going to cut it when all the kids are playing king of the mean girl hill. It seems to be taken more seriously at public school. But still not enough.

        I’m not sure I’m the right person to take on leadership of this issue at a bigger level, but I sure would appreciate finding some like minded folks to work with in a more systemic way. Still haven’t found it yet. So glad to hear you on this issue.

        Thanks again for your voice–it means so much to a lot of us.

  • I don’t buy the ‘I bullied because I was hurting’ excuse, simply because of the number of people I’ve known who’ve suffered terrible things, and who’ve gone on to become good, compassionate people. Compared to some of them, the lives of some bullies I’ve known have actually been pretty cushy. Even when bullies have suffered…well, I’ve had to listen to people excusing one of the major bullies in my life on the grounds that they ‘had a hard time growing up’, yet I know people in that same circle who went through the exact same experiences, worse in some cases, and who never felt the need to abuse other people because of it. There’s always an element of choice.

    I also love how this person makes out that she didn’t know what she was doing at the time, but makes it clear further on that actually, she had a pretty good idea. I’d like to see a more general application of the legal and religious concept of an age of responsibility. Basically, it should be assumed that if a child is developmentally normal, and is old enough to know that when you do something to another person, it will hurt them (physically or emotionally) – that child is responsible when they do that action. No fudging, no ‘I didn’t really mean it’, no ‘kids will be kids’ – they knew it was wrong, they did it, they suffer the consequences, and there should damn well be consequences.

    It’s funny how fat-haters, I’ve noticed, love to talk about ‘personal responsibility’ with regard to what we put in our mouths, yet never seem to want to take responsibility for what comes out of theirs. Some adults still have a few lessons to learn in this department.

    • I agree redheademerald – I got the same sense. “Oh I didn’t know what I was doing.” in one sentence, and then the next admitting how cunning she was and how she put on “the big eyes” and acted all innocent. It just doesn’t sit right with me at all.

      And I love this:

      “It’s funny how fat-haters, I’ve noticed, love to talk about ‘personal responsibility’ with regard to what we put in our mouths, yet never seem to want to take responsibility for what comes out of theirs.”

      Brilliant. Gonna quote that later.

  • I rather choked on the “brave” and “honest” bit too, and that article certainly didn’t induce any sympathy in me for the bully. She explicitly stated that while she had suffered those issues, she knew other people who had suffered the same and not bullied. She took the easiest path to a self esteem boost – putting other kids down.

    On the other hand, I think there’s a place for understanding bullies – not to justify or excuse but to prevent and to identify. One of the key issues raised in this article is that of bystanders. She wasn’t socially ostracised for her bullying, she gained acceptance and popularity. That doesn’t let her off the hook one iota, but it shows how the dynamics work. To me, the value in this article is not for a victim to read it, it holds no useful information for a victim, but for every kid to hear it before that really organised, nasty bullying starts around puberty. This article shows that if we don’t teach our kids to be disgusted by their friends’ bullying, they will be part of the bullying problem. Teaching kids to stand up to their friends is a really big deal, and at the moment, at least in the anti-bullying programs I’ve seen, only lip service is paid to it. Kids are told to not let other people bully, but they’re not really given any tools to do so.

    I completely agree with you, that social ostracising is the first line of defence in teenage bullying. I saw that work extremely effectively when I was a teenager with the assistance of a very sensible counsellor. But that worked so well because the bully was systematically putting everyone in the group down, not just one person who the whole group ganged up on. It’s a harder sell in the scenario in the article. I suppose the approach needs to be broadened to a wider audience, and everyone involved needs to be called out on it. But it will all work better if kids are explicitly taught to reject bullying in their friends. I think that bullies have been made to look like such monsters (possibly justifiably) that most kids simply couldn’t see how they, or their friends, could be that kind of monster. So they never put the bully label on anyone they know, let alone themselves.

    But understanding is also very. very important in younger kids. I watched a little boy come into a school socially awkward, bigger than the other kids and a little clumsy. His first go-to behaviour was bully-like behaviour. He was 5, and the school saw the causes and acted on them. All the kids were encouraged to help each other learn how to be good friends, and to treat this kid with care and compassion. By the time he left the school at 8, he was a lovely kid with no hint of the bully he might have become. Granted, other kids with the same set of circumstances might not have resorted to that kind of behaviour, but a punitive response probably would have created a bully, whereas at age 5, a compassionate, developmental response prevented one.

    However, once people are adults, we’re past the point where it’s about teaching better coping skills, or calling them for what they are or socially ostracising them. They need to be dealt with as nasty, disruptive, potentially criminal people.

    I’ll be keeping that article to show my kids – my 9 year old pretty much the first opportunity I get, and the younger two as they get older. I want to be sure they know what bullying looks from the bully’s side, so they recognise it in themselves and their friends. I think it’s also important for them to understand that bullies don’t generally think of their own behaviour as bullying, to get past the “I’m not a bully, therefore what I’m doing can’t be bullying” kind of spurious logic. I’ll also be talking to them about the practicalities of how to confront it, not just “Don’t let your friends do this”. I’ll be showing them how not to be a dick, for the benefit of the people around them, not so they avoid feeling guilty when they’re older.

    • I do believe in most cases, the behaviour we see from small children is not so much bullying but acting out in the only way they know how. Bullying however comes from those with enough self awareness to KNOW that what they are doing is hurting another person and are doing it anyway, usually with the express purpose of hurting that person. That should be so obviously repulsive to all of us – and yet it is not repulsive to many people. It is excused and left up to the victim to mitigate rather than the bully to prevent.

      Wheaton’s law is a good launch platform for teaching kids where to start with behaviour towards other people. But until we have absolutely zero tolerance for it ourselves as adults, it’s never going to go away.

      That said, I still felt that the interviewee in the article was looking for a cookie for being remorseful now. And she ain’t gonna get one from me.

      • Interestingly, this very afternoon Ben described to me how one of the kids in his class has a group of admirers, and he often puts down one of Ben’s friends. No single incident is that big a deal, but put together, it’s the beginning of bullying. I told him about the article, and said he needed to tell a teacher about it. The proto-bully needs to be told now that what he’s doing is indeed bullying, before he makes a social identity out of it, and before the victim is hurt too much. These kids are 9 & 10. It needs to be stopped now, and it shouldn’t be tolerated regardless of whether he yet has the self awareness of what he’s doing. The battle, I suspect, will be getting people to recognise that it is bullying.

  • I’m going to go read that article but am champing at the bit to comment first. I too am OVER the dialogue about bullies. At my child’s school they had a seminar on cyber bullying, it was all about actions you can take when being bullied, like logging off and turning off your phone etc. Nothing was addressed to the aggressors *at all*.

    I think they should talk about why people bully, and be honest – be frank, we all may feel pleasure in wielding power and creating drama at some time, but that indulging in this is damaging not only to the people you target but your own character. Sociopaths use pity directed towards them as a tool to manipulate, let’s not start teaching kids that if you are an arsehole people should feel sorry for your poor tortured self and their only recourse is to flee and think “oh gee, they must be sad inside to torture me”. Let’s just lay it out there that while you may be bullying to alleviate genuine negative feelings, it is a character flaw to take pleasure in the pain of others, and one we all need to guard against. You are someone less deserving of esteem if you act like this, and sometimes poor self esteem is justified.

    I am trying to teach my daughter to have strong boundaries and make them known immediately someone breaches them …. the school is undermining this with a “no tolerance” policy that means that if you respond to an aggressor, you are also punished. This hits the kids least likely to both bully and defend themselves, as the others are either already prepared to break rules, or haven’t got the impulse control as yet. It sounds like a green light to me to sneaky arseholes getting away with more bullshit.

    • I will be honest here and say that I can see where the school is coming from in their zero tolerance policy.

      The school I work at has a zero tolerance policy for violence. That means ZERO. That means that EVEN IF you have been provoked that there is NO excuse for physical violence or aggression (even verbal). None. Nada.

      It comes back to personal accountability for actions. Obviously, yes, the bullying student has the primary responsibility not to start shit in the first place and they should be dealt with swiftly and severely if they engage in bullying behaviour.

      It doesn’t mean we can just ignore the actions of the kid who punches or verbally abuses another kid in response to (a probably quite awful) provocation.

      That kid is not behaving in an acceptable manner by doing either of those things. Understandable? Sure. Acceptable? Okay? Absolutely not. While the consequences for kid #2, at least at my school, may not be as severe given the circumstances, there still needs to be a consequence for the violent/aggressive behaviour. The victim cannot take away from that experience that it is OK to lash out when provoked, because it isn’t. Not in school, not in the workplace, not in life.

      I’m not suggesting for a second that the victim of a bully be disciplined in the same way or to the same extent as the bully. The bully must bear the brunt of the responsibility for the situation. However the actions of the victim in retaliation must also be dealt with in such a way that the student learns that violence/aggression is not OK and ALSO so that the student is given crystal clear steps to take, should they find themselves being bullied again, that do not involve violent or aggressive behaviours.

      Apologies for the long comment – would also like to add that “zero tolerance” policies only work if they are applied 100% consistently 100% of the time which in many cases they are not. However if implemented properly the “zero tolerance” policy is actually an extremely valuable tool.

      • I have to agree with Bec. I think the only way to go is absolute zero tolerance for violence. You can sent boundaries, be assertive and firm about your personal space and rights without ever having to resort to retaliatory violence.

        To me, two wrongs do not make a right.

  • I was bullied in a previous job, and “understanding” the bully’s insecurities and issues and motivations for shitting all over other people didn’t actually make a damn difference.

    When I was bullied in school, I was literally instructed to not tell on the bully (by the teacher I was trying to tell) because the bully was from a foster home and had a difficult living situation.

    Fuck “understanding” bullies. All people do, when they insist we try to see things from a bully’s point of view etc etc, is re-victimize the victims. So fuck them too. *deep breath, rant done*

  • I really agree and appreciate your post. I was bullied a lot in high school and it was I that had to adjust and change while the bullies got away with everything. I too don’t care about trying to understand the bullies so I can accept how they treat you. No. I want them held accountable for their actions and to be clearly told that their behaviour is wrong. Nothing less will do.

  • I had two main bullies at primary school. One was the Principal’s daughter. The other was the second in line of the ‘popular girls’. I went to a very small school (12 girls in my grade) and I was the one singled out in our grade for being bullied for 7 years straight. It was hell. And no one believed me. And it was blamed on me because I was not social enough with those girls because I didnt enjoy sports (they teased me because I wasn’t very good at sport, I didnt enjoy it and I was bigger than they were). I used to sit outside the classroom and read book at lunch and recess so I didnt have to be with these girls. This was seen as a bad thing by the adults around me. Those girls and their sidekicks made my life hell and I have no sympathy for them whatsoever. They were nothing more than little bitches than made my primary school like absolute hell.

  • I was bullied, I was blamed because I was bullied and abused, becaused I’m a freak, too weird, too fat, too ugly, pick anything you want. I was sent to therapy and drugged for years, no one tried to understand me, everyone understand the bullies, both kids and teachers/staff bullies, but they are cool people, they are popular and normal people. I have no time to understand bullies, I want to help the victims and not blame them, I want to stop bullying and not focus on the abusers.
    I need to mention that most people that are mentally ill are abused and discriminated against and not always abusive people, I am mentally ill, I was abused at home and I am learning the basics of liking myself, I never bullied anyone.

    You have a great blog, I just found you here, I’m new to the idea of fat acceptance, I wish I knew about this some years ago as a teenager but I didn’t and ended up being coerced into that terrible surgery to loose weight.

    • I relate to a lot of what you are saying. I was placed on diet pills as a young teen and they made me crazy – they were basically amphetamines (called Duromine). It didn’t help to be in an abusive family situation and I remember the embarrassment I felt at secretly seeing a psychiatrist to ask What’s Wrong With Me? And – How Do I Fix It? Now, decades later, I can see with more clarity the effects of bullying and how ‘innocently’ I approached it, not understanding why anyone would want to do that to me. I’m so glad you’ve found this blog and fat activism, I hope you get the support and recognition you deserve. I’d also love to send you the biggest long distance hug – and belly bump :)

    • That’s absolutely true Alicia Lile – people suggesting that bullies do what they do because of mental illness and abuse are adding to the stigma suffered by the mentally ill and victims of abuse.

      I am so glad you have joined us and that you’ve discovered fat activism. It all gets better from here hon!

  • It just comes down to taking responsibility for your own actions. It’s something I try to get through to my students in all areas of their behaviour at school, whether it’s a bullying issue, their conduct in class, staying on top of their workload, etc etc.

    Kids especially often lack the maturity or emotional intelligence to take that responsibility until it is explicitly taught and then consistently reinforced.

    With some kids unfortunately you might never get through at a level where they do authentically take control of their own behaviour but at the very least they have to understand two important things:

    1. Everything you choose to do in life whether good or bad has an associated consequence;
    2. There may be many valid reasons for your bad behaviour choices, but there is NEVER any excuse. (This can be a difficult distinction for many kids and teenagers but adults should be more than capable of comprehending this concept)

    I think if you are the person (e.g. teacher, parent) who is trying to deal with a bully, understanding them can be extremely beneficial – not to excuse them but to be able to put a plan in place for managing their future actions.

    There is absolutely no acceptable reason to ever demand that the victim of a bully take it upon themselves to “understand” their tormentor, however.

    As for adult bullying or bullying in the workplace I cannot comment…never experienced it or participated in it and honestly have no effing idea what I would do if faced with such a situation so all I can say for that end of things is that I’m appalled that it goes on and good luck resolving it, for anyone who is currently experiencing such a thing.

  • No. I’m not doing a single effort to understand them because I understand them already too well. They are fucking self-righteous, superior feeling pricks and I don’t feel they are entitled to being cared for or understood if they act the way they do. Get your fucking shit together bullies. I suffered and hurted A LOT and NEVER bullied anybody. I am not fucking buying that, it makes me so angry. Sorry, as I am usually a peaceful person but this is way over the top for me.

  • I think the woman in the interview makes one good point–the word bullying is too small, we need to come up with a new term. It would be great if there was a large-scale effort to identify and stop this kind of behavior, something beyond the “It Gets Better” campaign. While those videos are admirable in explicitly admitting bullying is a problem, they represent only a baby step towards fighting the everyday verbal and emotional abuse which is usually condoned not just in schools but in workplaces and adult social settings.

    The truth, unfortunately, is that it doesn’t get better for everyone. I am a queer, fat woman with Asperger’s which means I have experienced “bullying” as an adult as well as during childhood. A lot of times the bullies/abusers don’t back down when you stand up for yourself, they just become angrier and more abusive. If we continue to ignore and implicitly accept this form of cruelty, than we are setting the stage for many other kinds of violence and abuse.

    • Tara I don’t think the word bullying is too small – I think it is dismissed far too easily. If we gave it the seriousness and weight that it deserves, we wouldn’t have this concept that it was too small a word.

      And you’re right, it doesn’t get better for everyone – I believe we have to MAKE it better.

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