Bullying in our institutions needs to be addressed. Adults need to recognise that in the age of ubiquitous electronic communication, the bully cannot be avoided. There is no place to hide, no alternate routes to take, no way to stay out of the bully. In short- no relief. Perhaps because of the nature of social media, the bullying can be more extreme, leading some students to commit suicide. It’s important that students themselves are getting involved to combat bullying. They may be the solution because while bullies may seem like fearless rebels, most often they are troubled and insecure and looking for acceptance.
In India, the consequences of bullying have been felt all too frequently in the suicide deaths of young students from major cities across the country. Efforts to stop bullying and head off violent behavior must be accompanied by common sense, which seems to be in short supply recently. Despite varying definitions around the world, the overall connotation of bullying is the same. In India, bullying is characterised by “intentional, aggressive behavior towards another individual involving an imbalance of power.” This repeated behavior may come in the form of verbal insults, teasing, name-calling, mockery, physical assault, sexual assault, hurtful gestures, social exclusion or cyber attacks. Sometimes bullies act alone; other times, they are joined by friends with similar mindsets. Other times, classmates join in simply to go along for the ride.
What kind of a society do we live in when our teachers and coaches cannot be trusted to be competent stewards of our children? Whether its children against children, or adults against children, these disgraceful acts cannot stand and we as citizens cannot permit them to go unreported when they do occur. If you don’t stand up to the aggression, they will walk all over you, and it’s time we all stood up.