In Bullying Around the World

Bullying in Venezuela

Venezuela is different from most South American nations because of its strong socialistic government, and one of the few purely communist nations still existing. Even so, it has its issues with bullying much like the rest of the nations in the area do.

Bullying in Venezuela is a reality just like it is in other countries, and many Latin American nations are trying to curtail the problem.

University professor Miriam Abramovay, vice coordinator of the Observatory on violence in schools in Brazil, points out in his work entitled Violence in schools: a great challenge, “the idea that school is a place that should provide protection, and it is also a place that has to be preserved by society, it does not correspond to the reality of most schools. ”

Schools are the primary area where bullying takes place, and most of that happens in the form of middle school bullying with kinds between the ages of 11-14. High school bullying is also an issue, and the schools are usually where nobullying efforts are concentrated.

One study conducted at the Gumilla Center in Caracas that included Sucre and Petare, showed bullying statistics where  88 percent of students said they had been verbally bulled and 79 percent said they had been bullied physically. Also, 24 percent said there was abuse of power, and five percent said they had been sexually abused at some point. The survey also said 73 percent witnessed bullying while in school. Even so, 86 percent said they are not generally afraid of fellow students.

Venezuelan officials also said bullying in Venezuela has increased greatly over the last 25 years. A 2011 study on the rights of children said there had been 18,000 cases of violence against children reported over the years, and bullying makes up a sizable part of that, but in this study it was not broken down.

One organization involved with the issue is the The British Council of Venezuela, which is an international organization that seeks to improve education and arts opportunities. It has also launched an anti-bullying campaign in the country of Venezuela.

The council gives the standard definition of bullying, which is unwanted aggressive behavior against a weaker person. The council advises parents and teachers to listen to children when they complain of bullying and to take it seriously. It also advocates reporting bullying when it is witnessed as a way to deal with bullying.

The newspaper El Carabobeño, had a story that showed how joking around, which is fun, and called “chalequeo” in Venezuela, can cross a line and become bullying. The coordinator for the Center of Learning in Caracas, for rights of children and adolescents, Fernando Pereria said cyberbullying is one of the main ways people are bullied in Venezuela today. This can be Facebook bullying or internet bullying in general, or even telephone bullying, facts about cyberbullying show. Pereria said witnesses to bullying are also part of the equation, and should be encouraged to report bullying in Venezuela when they see it happening.

Pereria said most often this type of bullying is seen in the younger grades, but he said high school aged students are better at hiding their bullying. It may be happening just as much, but the older kids are better at hiding it, so it is not noticed as much.

Students who are bullied tend to lose interest in things they once liked, tend to do worse in school, and can become depressed. Some have even killed themselves as a result of bullying. Pereria said a study in 2014 showed 40 percent of students said there was bullying in Venezuela.

Pereria said parents and teachers should pay close attention to students, and listen to them if they say they are being bullied. Adults should investigate and intervene as necessary, he said. He added that people should confront bullying when they see it in order to stop the problem.

Bullying also seems to be on the increase in Venezuela. An international study on bullying surveyed the state of Lara in Venezuela, comparing different years for students in seventh through ninth grade. The study showed overall from 2004 to 2008, students reporting being bullied rose from 33 percent to 34 percent. For boys the increase went from 35 to 46 percent, and it increased even more for girls, from 31 percent to 41 percent. According to this study, less than 30 percent of students in Venezuela had been given any advice or education on how to avoid being the victim of a physical crime or sexual abuse, and less than 10 percent had received education on how to avoid being the victim of a bully.

Some experts say bullying has been a taboo subject in Venezuela, and therefore a lot of statistics are not as available. One study in 2014 but the rate of bullying close to 80 percent, and less than a third said they had ever reported bullying, whether they were a victim or a witness.

Another study suggested bullying in Venezuela is the result of what children see in the home. Often there is domestic violence and general bullying at home. Kids see that and think it is normal, so they act that way when they get to school. Some children become bullies because of what they see at home, while others are victims at home and become victims at school.

While some parents may discipline their children for correction, it can go to far and become abuse, which is a form of bullying.

There does not seem to be a specific law against cyberbullying or bullying, in Venezuela, there are certain rights the government feels every person has. Those rights include the right to not be abused or bullied. A lawyer in Caracas represents people in bullying cases says that while there are not specific laws, the law can take action when basic rights to not be abused are violated. There are the schools, parents and the bullies themselves that are all part of the whole picture.

Attorney Manuel Alfredo Rodriguez, says schools can be sued for monetary damages when they do not protect the basic rights of children, and parents of children could perhaps also be sued if necessary. Rodriquez said there needs to be surveillance in schools, even with security cameras when needed. There should also be anti bullying programs, and there should be cooperation between parents and teachers and school authorities to address the problem of bullying. Providing bullying information is a good way on how to handle bullying in Venezuela, they said.

Many experts around the world say that often when bullying is not stopped at a young age, it continues into adulthood. Often bullies remain bullies and victims remain victims, and sometimes people who were bullied as children become bullies as adults. This results in workplace bullying and office bullying.

There has been some activity in trying to curtail adult bullying in the workplace. National Front of Working-Class Struggle spokesman Pedro Eusse, recently met with government officials in Caracas and called for a program to stop bosses from bullying in the workplace.

Eusse noted that the country is in an economic crisis because of falling oil prices and other reasons. He said as a result, they have abandoned the Communist principles of Hugo Chavez and implemented more capitalism philosophies in the workplace, and this has resulted in a reduction of workers rights and in more bullying by bosses.

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