Spain is no stranger to the dangers of bullying. This is a subject that has been studied for years. In one study, conducted over the course of the 2007 to 2008 school year looked at secondary students and the classmates who bullied them. The study included 1500 students and found that the more prevalent bullying was the more severe. Most Spanish students that are abused by bullies are abused verbally. The majority of the bullies are male students who target female students. Most of the time when female students are doing the bullying it consists of talking about other female students behind their backs.
As of 2015 a growing number of those being bullied in school were speaking out against the perpetrator. As a result, 75% more cases of bullying were reported that year compared to previous years. Informational campaigns throughout Spain helped to increase awareness of the issue. A specific bullying incident that also created more awareness was the fact that an 11 year old boy who had been a victim of school bullies killed himself as a result. Before he died wrote a letter to his family explaining his actions.
The eight boys accused of bullying the deceased boy went on trial at the Palace of Justice in San Sebastian. The trial was held at the Palace as opposed to juvenile court because it was easier to ensure that the identities of those on trial weren’t revealed. A screen was erected in the Palace to allow the children to remain anonymous.
During the trial the full story came out. The victim had been suffering from a problem that resulted in him losing control of his bowels in the classroom. Throughout the entire school year the victim was violently bullied due to his problem. When the next school year began the boy arrived at his new classroom only to find out that it had been covered in toilet paper as a way of poking fun at him. Unaware of what was happening, the victim’s teacher forced him to clean up the mess himself. Two days later the victim had been beaten at school so many times that he simply stopped going. When the school called his parents they were unaware that he had been a victim of bullying. His parents planned to send him back to school armed a cell phone so he could call for help if he was bullied again. However, the day that the victim was supposed to return to school was the day he committed suicide. When his autopsy was performed physical evidence of the bullying he had endured were found on his body. Due to this incident parents in Spain began speaking out and criticizing the schools for not handling the problem before it got out of control.
A Spanish researcher wrote an article in which he stated that of all the children between the ages of 9 and 14 enrolled in school in Spain, 48% of them had been bullied. While over 50% of those cases involved verbal abuse, 18% were physically bullied by classmates.
Facts About Cyberbullying
The Daphne III project was one conducted in six countries, including Spain. The goal of the project was to develop school intervention programs to handle and prevent cases of bullying. Spain’s program for this project was referred to as ConRed. This program was focused on improving the school environment for students and teaching students to co-exist in order to facilitate togetherness throughout each school. One goal of this program was to teach students how to safely and effectively use the Internet without causing harm to others. Another goal of the program was to determine how prevalent cyberbullying is among secondary students in Spain. The program was also meant to encourage students who had been cyberbullied to seek support at school.
As workplace bullying is also an issue in Spain it has been studied as well. A survey conducted in 2009 showed that 14% had experienced psychological bullying/abuse at work. According to Madrid’s High Court of Justice, workplace bullying in Spain is defined as the ““process of systematic and repeated aggression by a person or group towards a workmate, subordinate or superior.” This definition was formed based on close to 3,000 responses on the Negative Acts Questionnaire; this questionnaire is routinely used to measure abuse in the workplace. The results of one study determined that women are bullied in the workplace more frequently than men are. It also determined that the majority of Spain’s citizens that have been victims of workplace bullying have been over the age of 45. A somewhat unexpected conclusion of the survey was that only 9% of workplace bullying is inflicted on employees from their co-workers but 47% of victims are bullied by their own boss.
Only time will tell if Spanish schools and businesses take the necessary steps to prevent bullying in the future.