Bullying is common practice in many walks of life. You yourself, I'm sure have fell victim to and been convicted of this awful act too. According to 'Bullying: No Way!', an Australian government initiative, in the education faction, report some very interesting data analysis. One in four children between the ages of eight and fifteen fall victim to bullying on a frequent basis and, get this; just 72% of schools report having bullies. We will digest these a little later but for now, think about this one last fact: 87% of bullying which occurs happen in the view of others! That's nearly nine times out of ten incidents in Australian society are done in the plain sight of day, for others to gawk at! What does that say about our school standards, our home expectations and our culture? It's really alarming; which leads me to this very evidential fact: Bullies Will Never Die! And, what is saddest yet, is the families of victims are often bearing the brunt of these acts as a result.
In the midst of our frantically paced lives, we withdraw ourselves further and further from others, yet, amazingly become more and more conscious of their thoughts and judgments. Our appearance, our possessions, our status. Of course, when there is so much pressure on us as individuals to adhere to social norms, a certain paradox falls into play; go under the radar to be noticed. Lay low until it suits us best, for we do not want to look uncool, out of touch or, heck, even wrong! So, with all this, our ego constantly runs, instinctively, on a defense mechanism - the flight or fight mode- taken to a new level; the play dead mode. We act as if we are non- existent in times of desperate need. The old, 'look, there's Spiderman!' you gesture subconsciously and take a sigh of relief when the crowd of conformists looks the other way, giving you ample time to slide away, back into the shadows. But when it's time, the spotlight of glory will shine upon you for the greatness you have bestowed upon the world around you! You just bought a new vehicle, your amazing island holiday was better than the sleep worthy experience in which others had at a corresponding time and even better, you met someone with a higher status than us all and you were lucky enough to grab a happy snap to flaunt on a platform of likable social media. A secretive self-loather portrays a confusing image of narcissism. So why do all these insults relate to us? Bullies will never die because WE are the bullies! For many reasons but for the most; we fit almost perfectly into that aforementioned 87%. We are the lifelong onlookers for one of the most horrific crimes in the history of mankind. It brings about more mental health issues than anything else, more deaths than road accidents and a more self-loathing state of mind than when getting fired or failing a test. Yet, despite all this, we still watch from the sidelines and let others endure. And the most prominent place this occurs? You guessed it…
Schools are places resembling havens; learning rich and warm, safe and nurturing, so why does so much bullying occur here? Well, there are obvious reasons; reasons that our leaders and representatives may use to more or less sweep the real, deep seeded issues under the carpet. One instance might be that children spend up to one-third of their childhood in these places. Another, schools are so unlike every other environment. Once school finishes and we enter life as an adult, we naturally find our niche, where like-minded people surround us. At schools, people from all walks of life emerge. This aids many an excuse-maker, leading conversations about bullying and differences in the opinion just natural passageway to growing up. But let's tell some hard truths here. These places, often, when nurtured and established in such a way, are idealistically utopian but most fall well short of the mark. Directly or not, bullies find solace in schools; festering negativity and angst amongst those around them. This isn't really news to us though, we all experienced it at school ourselves. Here's the issue; the stats suggest 72% of Australian schools report there is bullying in their school yard and classrooms, meaning 28% believe their institute does not. Talk about bystanding!
As the old saying goes, direct sunlight kills bacteria best. I call a call out! Bullies parade in the fear of the cowering of others. But are the bullies really to blame for bullying? It's a weird question to pose, right? We should be doing more for the bully; to educate, to care and embrace the strength of being different. And the schools who seem to be bully-less, let's call them out. Only positivity can be achieved; either we learn from their approach or they are pulling the wool! Together we fight against an issue swept under the carpet far too long. I feel the bully has a huge part to play in their very own existence. Who knows the tricks, the secrets and maybe, the reasons a bully behaves in such a way? I'll let you think about that. That sense of belonging (or lack of) may just be the cause and effect of this age-old curse. Only one thing is certain; unless something is done now, bullies will never die!