I was grateful for the opportunity to join with others in acknowledging Feb. 27 as Anti-Bullying Day.
In spite of the obviousness of bullying being well represented by media and focused on core groups, mainly teenagers and the workplace, I began to reflect on how normal and accepted various levels of bullying have been in our society.
Typically bullying is defined as the use of coersion or intimidation involving a perceived imbalance of power or status. It can include verbal harassment, threats, as well as emotional, mental and physical abuse. Bullying, abuse of power, intolerance: It’s all the same game.
The root of the problem is much deeper than what exists in the workplace, schoolyards or cyberspace.
In light of this awareness, the need to expose and disempower the bully would also exist in sexual, familial, professional, societal, religious, relationship, financial and friendship settings (as well as many other areas).
How many are familiar with the following catch phrases: ‘for your own good’, ‘if you love me’, ‘you owe me’, ‘it’s just part of the ‘pecking order’, ‘prove your loyalty’, ‘I did it to make you strong’, ‘this hurts me more than it does you’, ‘I’m your boss’, ‘I’m your parent’, ‘I’m your spouse’, ‘I’m your professor’, ‘We’re a powerful gang’, etc. ?
Having our children see us as disempowered adults or as a society held mentally and emotionally ‘hostage’ by any group, only reinforces the message that bullying is a fact of life and attempts at eradicating it is futile.
Nothing can be changed until it’s faced. The foundation of patterning, habits and what is considered ‘normal’, (like addiction, aggressiveness and bullying) is laid out and perpetuated in our homes and then on to schoolyards, workplaces and societal environments. We can’t leave it solely up to the young people to identify and disarm the bully.