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Effects of bullying take years to wear off. I should know

Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's Desk)
Filed on November 19, 2019 | Last updated on November 19, 2019 at 06.39 am

(Alamy)

Bullying is mostly bad behaviour and abuse of power, but can also be a mental disorder gone unnoticed by those who should address it.

Teacher's pet, you're ugly/fat/stupid, nobody likes you. There are plenty of taunts that bullies use in school and elsewhere. Every time a phrase like this is uttered to belittle a little one or even an adult, a part of the victim dies inside them. I know. I've experienced bullying in school. In the playground - physical bullying in the form of foot-stomping, kicks and even punches. But that is nothing compared to the verbal form of bullying. Words that have the power to humiliate, insults that crush your spirit and break your heart, and phrases that shame you for your hair or your body or anything and everything else.

Bullying is mostly bad behaviour and abuse of power, but can also be a mental disorder gone unnoticed by those who should address it - parents, teachers, co-workers, colleagues. anyone who's supposedly close to the perpetrator.

There may be several reasons as to why a bully resorts to bullying, but the result on the victim is always negative. They're hurt, stressed, and often go into depression. Bullying has now taken a whole new digital dimension, and news of children and even adults committing suicide because of cyberbullying is, unfortunately, a little too commonplace for comfort.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, or so goes the aphorism, but it isn't necessarily true in the case of bullying, the effects of which could take years to wear off if they ever completely go away. At times, ignoring the bully works while in others, standing up to the bully could be the solution. But in every case, speaking about it and communicating it to the teacher and/or parents is a must if the victim is a student. In the case of adults, too, there are counsellors and the organisation's HR department.

Unfortunately, whatever steps we may take at an individual, organisational, community, national or even international level to address the menace, the fact is that bullying will never completely disappear. But it can definitely be contained and kept in check. Initiatives like the UAE Ministry of Education's National Bullying Prevention Week are integral to the solution: raising awareness, engaging all stakeholders (parents, students, teachers), and communicating practical ways to deal with the aggression. UAE laws guarantee students the right to education in a safe environment, and that means protection from all forms of violence, including bullying.


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