Types of Bullying

There are two types of bullying:

●direct bullying, and

●indirect bullying which is also known as social aggression.

Direct bullying involves physical aggression such as shoving and poking, throwing things, slapping, choking, punching and kicking, beating, stabbing, pulling hair, scratching, biting, scraping and pinching.

Indirect bullying or social aggression is characterized by threatening the victim into social isolation.  This isolation is achieved through spreading gossip, refusing to socialize with the victim, bullying other people who wish to socialize with the victim, criticizing the victim’s manner of dress and other socially-significant markers including the victim’s race, religion, disability or other obvious differences.  Other forms of indirect bullying include name calling, the silent treatment, over-talking or arguing the target into submission, manipulation, gossip, falsehoods, lies, rumors, laughing at the victim, mocking and saying certain words that trigger an embarrassing reaction from a past event.

The effects of bullying can be serious and even fatal. The link between bullying and school violence has attracted increasing attention since the 1999 rampage at Colorado’s Columbine High School. That year, two shotgun-wielding students, both of whom had been identified as gifted and who had been bullied for years, killed 13 people, wounded 24 and then committed suicide. A year later an analysis by officials at the U.S. Secret Service of 37 premeditated school shootings found that some of the shooters described bullying in terms that approached torment.  It is believed that such bullying played a major role in more than two-thirds of the attacks. It is estimated that about 60-80% of children are bullied at school and 40 percent of employees experience being bullied at work.  Moreover, in the work setting, approximately 62 percent of bullies were men and 58 percent of targets were women.

Until recently, bullying has been mostly ignored by our society.  This disregard of such social hostility may provide an important clue in crowd and passer-by behavior. Are you not appalled by the apathy of on-lookers when crimes occur in public places? The acceptance of bullying as a normal part of daily life may be one of the reasons why people feel a lack of emotional sensitivity for the victim and accept such violence as a common occurrence.  When someone is bullied, it is not only the bully and victim who are becoming less sensitive to violence. It is also the friends, co-workers and classmates of the bully and the victim who are accepting and condoning this form of violence as normal.

In a landmark study, 432 gifted students in 11 states of the US were studied for bullying. More than two-thirds of academically talented eighth-graders say they have been bullied at school and nearly one-third harbored violent thoughts as a result.  Research studies estimate that bullying often creates a chain reaction where the bullied later becomes the bully. Numerous dictators and invaders throughout history have tried to justify their bullying behavior by claiming they themselves were bullied in childhood. There is no justification for bullying.

There is a growing body of research which indicates that individuals, whether child or adult, who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness including long term emotional and behavioral problems, loneliness, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicide.  You have only to look at recent news reports to see there is a strong link between bullying and suicide.  During this past year, we lost Phoebe Prince, Dawn-Marie Wesley, Kelly Yeomans, Jessica Haffer, Hamed Nastoh and April Himes to suicide as a result of bullying by their classmates.

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