Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively impose domination over other people. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. And it can end in their target's suicide.
#Earlier this month, a Californian mayor sparked outrage by suggesting victims of bullying should 'grow a pair' and 'just stick up for them damned selves'. Cameron Hamilton, mayor or Porterville made the remarks during a city council meeting in a discussion about student safety. The proposal was for 'Safe Zones' around town to give children a place to seek refuge from bullies.
#In Santa Rosa, Calif. a woman is facing charges of assault. The Sonoma County Sheriff's office stated that the woman went to an elementary school at lunchtime on Friday and asked her son to point out her daughter's alleged tormentor. She grabbed a 12-year-old boy by the throat while confronting him about bullying her daughter. Now she's in trouble for defending her child.
But new evidence published in PNAS shows that standing up to bullies could be good for your health. Scientists have discovered that those who are made miserable by taunting are more likely to suffer heart problems in later life. Bullied children experience higher than normal levels of inflammation which persists into adulthood.
Levels of CRP remained twice as high in individuals who had been bullied as children whereas bullies had CRP levels lower than those who were neither bullied nor victims. Previous research suggested that bullying can have a negative effect on the psychological and social development of children, with the impact lasting for more than 40 years.
Bullied youngsters have a biomarker in their blood, which in high levels raises the risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome and increases with each incident of bullying. It more than doubled between one incident and three.
However it was discovered that bullies actually had less CRP than children who were never bullied, suggesting a protective effect.
Dr William Copeland, a clinical psychologist and epidemiologist, of Duke University said: “Bullying is a common childhood experience that affects children at all income levels and racial/ethnic groups.”
I never experienced bullying but one of my children had a life-changing experience.
In the final year of primary school, my son was tall, strong and a leader among his peers. He defended anyone who needed help and thought of himself as a hero. If only things had remained that way.
After we moved from Adelaide, South Australia to the small country town of Robe, he and his sisters rode on the school bus to reach a secondary area school many miles away. In my son's first year, other boys picked on him, but he declared that he would 'turn the other cheek'. Even youngsters took a swing and he would often come home bruised. Neither the head master not the bus driver could help him. He had to stop the abuse himself.
At last the beast inside him roared and he became what he despised by fighting back. Through no fault of his own, he defended himself to stop thugs taking advantage of his good nature.
The sorry end to this tale is that he changed from a laughing, accepting, loving youth to a strong-man, the result of which eventually led to his death.
Each person must find a balance between strength and weakness, aggression and passivity.