Every second in the U.S., someone is being bullied. It happens to adults, children, co-workers, friends, parents, fellow students and even elderly people.
Bullying doesn’t discriminate against age, race, gender, physical appearance or status. It can happen anywhere — school, work, at home or on the streets.
With technology, bullying has become easier than ever because the bully doesn’t have to be present to bully someone or can even remain anonymous. Cyberbulling has become an epidemic in today’s society. A bully has the ability to attack his or her victim 24 hours a day, and the amount of people that the bully can target is unlimited
With just a click of the mouse or with a text, a bully can forward a hurtful picture or message about a victim to thousands of people.
Despite laws to help fight bullying, schools having anti-bully polices, and workplaces having rules against it, bullying continues to happen at an alarming rate. So how do we as a society eradicate a disease like bullying? How are children supposed to learn that bullying isn’t OK when they might have a parent who is a bully? How do we tell people to stand up for the victims when they are afraid to be bullied themselves? How do we scare a bully with consequences, when the consequences are so minimal?
Someone close to me was recently bullied and it opened my eyes to the fact that it can happen to anyone and for any reason. This is a person who does not have any of the typical physical or personality characteristics that might come to our mind when we think of the “stereotypical” bullying victim. However, it became a situation that escalated to other people becoming involved at various levels of the bullying, in some cases because those people had fear of losing popularity or becoming bullied themselves.
The bullying occurred in person and online, and unfortunately, even attempts to have the parents of those involved in the bullying didn’t result in much of a response.
Here’s what happened, though: This friend of mine was strong-willed and fought back. My friend had the support of family and other friends, too. In our conversations, my friend expressed the realization that the initial bully was actually a weak and jealous person. My friend was able to beat the odds and overcome what people fear can happen to them or to their child. My friend still receives a mean message from time to time, but it only makes my friend a stronger person inside, with the knowledge of standing up for oneself.
What, then, about the victims who aren’t strong enough or don’t have the support it takes to overcome their attackers? I see articles all the time about victims ending their own lives to escape the emotional and physical pain they have to endure. Staff members at schools think they are doing a job at keeping bullying down, but they aren’t. I hear stories every day about bullying right here in Yakima and surrounding schools.
Bullying is even happening in the elementary schools. Imagine what is being felt with 5-year-olds who bully each other.
I think schools need to treat bullying as if a student brought a weapon to school. Bullying can have the same impact as a weapon. When a student brings a weapon to school, another student has the potential to get hurt. The same thing can happen with bullying. Bullying can lead to another student becoming hurt.
Enough is enough. Please help end bullying by setting a good example for your children, and talk to them about the consequences.