Being subjected to some kind of verbal or physical or even social disturbance is not something that should be accepted nor is it something normal that happen for every person during his/her lifetime, yet it is some form that might cause any person to feel threatened, powerless or not accepted among his/her community, and lead that person to drop himself out of any engagements with the social life, or even worse it might lead them to try ending their lives and committing suicidal acts. Bullying in Pakistan is present since a long time, and it is increasing quickly with the appearance of new ways to bully others like the emergence of the internet that led to the appearance of cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying in Pakistan
According to a study that was done among 25 countries about cyber bullying, it was found that Pakistan does not stand at the first of the row in online bullying, yet it also takes the twenty second highest rate in cyber bullying. But children in Pakistan do have a background about cyber bullying and know what it means and how they might be subjected to it in which 6 in every 10 children said that they know something about cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying is referred to any act that is done by one person or a group of people towards another person over some type of technological tool, either mobile phones or the usage of the internet. Cyber bullying can come in the form of sending text messages, e-mails, using the social media websites such as FaceBook to share someone’s confidential information by accessing their profiles without their knowledge (hacking) like sharing their photos or some videos they already have of them. Cyber bullying can include audio messages that is sent to the victim and might leave them nothing but frightened and threatened, and the thing that is even worse than what cyber bullying is all about is the fact that it might take place at any time during the day, the bully does not have to stick to certain hours like bullying in schools and in workplaces.
With over 100 million users of smart phones in Pakistan, Pakistan has been included in the list of the fastest growing countries that are using internet which only open the doors for the fact that cyber bullying is increasing as well, yet there isn’t any legislation for cyber crimes in Pakistan. In 2007, General Pervez Musharaf introduced the Prevention of Electronic crime Ordinance (PECO) which was in order to prevent terrorist or banned groups from using the internet for using propaganda against the military and to protect female members of the Parliament who were being harassed by abusive phone calls and text messages.
Other people in Pakistan who are far from the political life complain about living in a country that suffer from the absence of law to protect them against online crimes, saying that PECO had several flaws, and many of the definitions in it were incorrect, such as for example the ordinance that was sent for the NA for ratification stated that sending indecent, provocative and ill motivated messages through e-mails and text messages was an offence and would result in 14 years of imprisonment along with the confiscation of property which was seen by a lot of people that it was too much for a minor issue, and on the other side there were no provision in PECO that tackles the issue of child pornography and intellectual property theft.
One of the main problems that results from cyber bullying in Pakistan is that the women are more involved in bullying and harassment acts more than men, with the appearance of the internet world and the girls taking over, they started knowing everything on the online world and engaging themselves in the internet world, teenage girls in Pakistan are considered “computer savvy”. The problem is that girls are not only open to the world of information and entertainment but they also know about the online sexual content. The girls in Pakistan claim that they know the dangers that result from the internet world, where 84% of the girls cited their own common sense in detecting and differentiating between the harmful and harmless acts that happens over the internet, while 51% stated that they know the difference according to their parents, and only 4% believe that nothing is ever bad on the internet because they claim that it is not a real world.
In Pakistan it seems that women are the easiest targets to be bullied online, because the National Response Center for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) does not have any legislation for cyber crimes such as hacking and online stalking, there were several incidents that faced women regarding these issues.
- The first one was of the two girls from a liberal arts college in Pakistan who decided to participate in an international sketching competition, the sketches were supposed to be of nude self portraits, so they asked a friend to photograph and send the pictures over to them via e-mail, but the secret was easily revealed because at the very same week the two girl’s e-mails were hacked and blackmailing threats started reaching them.
- Another incident was of the two female celebrities in Pakistan who reported for Bytes for all the Facebook profiles that were formed about them, and the reason behind creating such profiles was to recruit some young girls as modeling aspirations for dubious events and phony jobs. Such acts do not only affect the image of these celebrities but also make those girls at the mercy of the criminals.
- One of the main cyber bullying issues in Pakistan that threatens every girl is being sexually attacked. And according to Nabiha Meher, a Pakistani blogger who also teaches in some universities in Lahore, the family’s honor in Pakistan is usually tied to the women, if the woman in the family is sexually attacked then the whole family’s honor is attacked as well, and that’s why bullies in Pakistan play on that part by harassing women online even by sending them a threat that they will rape them.
School bullying in Pakistan
School bullying is any kind of bullying that is connected with education, meaning that it takes place within the school; it might be in the form of verbal bullying such as name calling, teasing, mocking and threatening or might be physical such as hitting, shoving, spitting, punching, stealing and damaging property, or it might take the form of social bullying such as gossiping, spreading rumors, excluding a person from a group or spreading hatred towards him in school. The children who are being bullied usually face some kinds of depression, lack of sleep, they might disengage themselves from the social life, or else they will find themselves skipping school or feeling unsafe and threatened to go.
The person who is being bullied in school is usually being picked among a large number of students because they seem different in some way whether the religion or the sex, or else it might be for another appearances such as being shy for example, some researches done even mentioned that some bullies do such acts because they are just bored and want to have fun. Studies have shown that children who are subjected to bullying acts are more likely to suffer from mental health problems such as depression, low self esteem, stress or anxiety, or else they might think about suicide.
According to a study that was done in six medical colleges in Pakistan, it was found in the 63% of the people who responded to the survey that 52% of the respondents reported that they had faced bullying or harassment during their medical education, and about 28% of them experiencing it more frequently or even every month, and 57% of the bullying acts were verbal.
Bullying at school leads to other problems that might last with the person, and because of that a lot of people consider bullying as a kind of violence, it is even estimated that 1 in every 4 children who have faced an act of bullying in elementary schools will have a criminal record at the age of 30. Bullying at schools might lead to the student losing his/her friends, or yet not having the career they always dreamed of when they finish their studies, some might even enter the career level but yet be subjected to another workplace bullying acts since they are already weak.
Some of the things that should be taken in order to avoid bullying in the schools of Pakistan:
- Ignoring the bully and walking away, that kind of act will tell the bully that the victim actually don’t care, sometimes walking away is even more better for the person than confronting and losing his/her temper. But over time the bully will find themselves getting bored because they find no responses.
- The bully is always targeting for angering the victim, and if the victim controlled his/her anger that might make the bullies lose their minds.
- The victims should never engage themselves in physical relations, because the acts of bullying usually comes out from people who consider themselves more powerful, and the victim doesn’t know what he is putting himself into, such ways will only lead to more violence in the place.
- Victims should open up themselves and talk about incidents that they faced, they should tell their teachers or parents about what they are facing in their everyday life in school. Talking can be an outlet for the fears and frustrations that are inside any person.
- Children should know how to choose their friends and peers in school; they should know who is good and who is bad.
School bullying cases in Pakistan
After the great appearance of bullying in the schools of Pakistan, several parents reported to the police about incidents that happened with their children. For example:
- The case of the 13 year old Pakistani junior high school student in Takamatsu whose father filed a criminal complaint with the police about the classmates of his son who are always bullying and injuring him.
- Another parent’s of a male Pakistani student in high school in a town in Kagawa Prefecture filed a complaint for the police because his son was being bullied and injured seriously in school. His parents said that four of his classmates were always making verbal comments about the boy because his skin color was different, and using words like “dirty skin” and telling him to go back to his country. He was also being beaten up by them.
Workplace bullying in Pakistan
Any behavior that is unprofessional and unwanted that affects the dignity of an employer is usually unacceptable in the workplace and is considered an act of bullying. Workplace bullying is when a person uses his power in an unjustifiable manner over a vulnerable colleague or an employee, which has been considered a swearing word in the professional circuits. Research analysis showed that people who are subjected to acts of bullying in their workplaces usually talk with their friends and family about the incidents and some of them even look for other jobs, while 42% talk with their colleagues about their acts, and only 9% to 18% of the affected people put a formal complaint.
According to a Pakistani business review in 2011, it was found that there is a relation between popularity and bullying in workplaces, since the person who is popular is usually loved and appreciated by his employer and colleagues, the bully usually feels jealous towards that person, which leads him doing some bullying acts towards the other person. This study showed also that in Pakistan female employers are more likely to be bullied by female bosses, while male employers are more likely to be bullied by male bosses, it was also stated that male employers are being bullied for their work performances while women are bullied for personal and moral values.
Bullying in an organization can reduce staff turnover and increase de-motivation and absences among employees, which will result in negative productivity. And because popular employers are targeted more than the others it will affect their giving in the workplace as well.