Bullying is abuse. Plain and simple. Bullies are trying to intimidate, hurt or scare you. They are trying to get a reaction out of you to make themselves feel better. Bullies are everywhere: school, church, work, your neighborhood and even online.
If you are being bullied, read more on How to Cope With Being Bullied
We could bore you with a bunch of statistics about how many kids stay home every day to get away from bullying, how many kids die from suicide each year because they are being bullied. They are frightening numbers. You are not alone in being bullied.
Read more on How to Heal from Bullying
Most commonly, a person is bullied for being different. Appearance and real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity (being lesbian, gay, transgender) are reported as the top two reasons for being bullied. Again, it boils down to the bully wanting to hurt you and make themselves feel better; sometimes it’s their own insecurities they use to pick on other people about.
Types of Bullying:
- Physical Bullying: Physical contact to hurt or injure someone (hitting, kicking, etc.) This also includes taking and destroying things from the victim. This is an easier type of bullying to define as it leaves actual marks.
- Verbal Bullying: Bullying that causes emotional hurt, instead of (or in addition to) physical bullying. For example – name calling, offensive remarks, jokes, threats or otherwise putting someone down and intimidating someone else verbally.
- Exclusion/Social Alienation: Being excluded or left out purposefully is another type of bullying. It often includes spreading rumors and other forms of verbal bullying.
- Cyber-Bullying: Verbal bullying that takes place on the internet, with cell phones or other forms of social media.
- Gossip/Rumors: Another type of verbal abuse taking place anywhere. Talking about someone behind their back, spreading rumors about someone, or excluding them from a "clique".
What Do I Do If I'm Being Bullied?
Avoid places you'll be isolated. Stick with people you trust during school. Spend time with trusted friends and other friendly people.
Don't fight the bully. Fighting may lead to more aggression. Resist the urge to act upset with the bully. Any show of emotion is a sign (to the bully) that they have won. So just ignore them, deflect with a fart joke, and walk away when you can.
Walk tall, make eye contact, and speak assertively to the bully. Communicating self-confidence is very important, and you should know that you're the good shit. Bullies like to pick on people they perceive as weaker than they are. Take charge of your life. You cannot control the way another person acts...but you can control yourself.
Talk about the bullying. A friend, a teacher, The Band; someone in whom you can confide. Report the bully. Don't be afraid or feel weak by telling an adult. You're not being weak - you're being strong by admitting that someone is hurting you.
Why Am I Being Bullied?
Bullies are about power. They want to feel better, stronger, or smarter than someone else. Bullies target those who are perceived as weaker or different than them. What a bully thinks about you may not even be true. Are you the smartest in your class? Maybe they feel insecure about their own intellect. Does the bully think your ‘gay’ or ‘girly’ (for guys)? This makes you different, and for whatever reason, makes you a target for bullies. Now, we’re not telling you to change who you are. We’re explaining why a bully would target you. You are perfect and wonderful just the way you are and if they bully can’t see that, it’s THEIR problem, not yours.
How To Handle Being Bullied:
Bullying may make you feel like dogshit...physically and emotionally. Never, ever blame yourself for being bullied. YOU are not the problem. YOU are fine just as you are. It's the BULLY that is a problem. Do NOT become ashamed of who you are. EVER. Bullying may do a number on your self-esteem, but you need to walk tall and proud and remember: you're perfect. Never be afraid to get help. Admitting you need help is one of the bravest acts, ever. It's also excruciatingly hard. But do it.
You are perfect, just as you are. Aunt Becky says so. And if a bully says otherwise? They can answer to ME.
If You Witness Bullying:
Speak up! Open your mouth and USE YOUR VOICE. Staying silent increases the bully's power. No one deserves to be bullied. Think how you would feel if you were being bullied. Wouldn't you want someone to stand up for you?
Give some comfort to the bully's victim. Let them know that what happened was bullshit and shouldn't have happened.
If you don't feel like you can talk to the bully, get an adult involved. You're not being a 'tattletale' or a 'narc' or a 'snitch'. You are standing up for what is right. Bullying is bullshit and we need to stop it.
Bullying and Suicide
Because bullying is becoming more prevalent, more and more teens and pre-teens are resorting to suicide to solve their problem. Suicide is NEVER the answer. There are no hard and fast numbers on how many kids die by suicide each year because the cause of suicide isn’t always known. If you feel that you aren’t being heard by your parents, teachers or another adult, there are helplines you can contact to help you. Write a letter to your parents, or other trusted adult, to let your feelings out. Show them the letter so they know you are serious and you feel alone. Please, seek help until you get it. Never give up.
Teen Bullying Resources:
Pacer Center's Teens Against Bullying - site for teens, endorsed by teen idols, that explains the ins-and-outs of bullying and encourages action.
Pacer Center's Kids Against Bullying - Pacer Center's site for elementary school kids about bullying. Very interactive.
Stop Bullying (dot) Gov - information from various government agencies (oh, shut up, they have good shit, even if they're the government) aimed at teens and young adults.
Want the scary numbers on how many people are bullied everyday?
Stomp Out Bullying Because no one deserves to be bullied.
Make Beats Not Beat Downs Helping bullies AND the bullied make alternate choices and helping others with music