Perpetrators and victims: How to navigate bullying in school

We have the perpetrators, the victims and the silent spectators. What action you will take to put an end to this despicable act will depend on where you belong

By Asha Iyer Kumar

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Published: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 6:38 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Jan 2024, 7:42 AM

Dear children,

Have you ever been ragged or bullied in school? I am asking this question straight without any soft introduction because there are some things in life that need to be talked about directly, but we don’t do it because of the fear and stigma attached to them. Bullying is one of them. Not all people need to experience all things in life, and it is possible that you may be among the fortunate ones to have escaped this ordeal. Not all are lucky, nor are all vocal about it. But it’s time that we wore the superhero cape and stood up to the unfair and unruly behaviour of our school and classmates.

So we have the perpetrators, the victims and the silent spectators. What action you will take to put an end to this despicable act will depend on where you belong.

The offenders

Are you a perpetrator? Do you feel a sense of empowerment when you inflict pain on your fellow schoolmates? Does it give you a sense of dominance when you behave badly towards others? It won’t be easy for you to admit it, but you may harbour these instincts. Ask yourself how you want to be known among your peers? As a good or a bad person? You wouldn’t want to be remembered as a villain, would you? Violence, intimidation and negative behaviour can never make people love you. And you sure want to be loved, don’t you? If yes, stop being wicked and mean.

The victims

Next, there are the targets, who are intimidated to the point of silent suffering. Are you one of them? Do you cringe and cower at the thought of some schoolmates but don’t make an effort to talk about them to either your parents or teachers because you fear that the bullies will take you on more severely? On their part they are perpetrating an offence, but by not standing up to them, you are endorsing their behaviour indirectly. Tolerating injustice is a bigger crime than committing it. Now, would you like to be known as a ninny, who couldn’t even defend yourself? Do you want your self-confidence to be wrecked in the long run by the high-handedness of some insecure bullies? Or do you want to be a proud crusader who had the courage to challenge your tormentors and set an example for others?

Don’t be afraid to fight injustice. Let someone you trust know – teachers, parents - before the bullies make it a habit. Remember, the bullies can only exert their evil influence on you, not on your teachers or parents. They are still students and are liable to following rules. Breaking it will have severe consequences. So, exercise your right to complain and bring their behaviour to the notice of your teachers and parents. Their support is a given.

The bystanders

Finally, the ones who mutely witness the goings-on without taking the necessary action. You are the ones who get to be the super-heroes if only you choose to do it. Wear your cape and bring your army together to defend your bullied friend. You have a moral responsibility to stop injustice from happening. If your friend is meek, be his voice. We cannot stand by and watch wrong things happen just because we aren’t affected. It reflects poorly on our human nature.

Bullying can manifest in many forms – physical, emotional, verbal or sexual. It is important to first acknowledge it and then report it without fear. School bullies are mostly attention-seekers. And when you deny them the attention by taking the right action, they will fall in line. Until next, keep glowing. Keep growing.

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