The following are thirteen reasons why you should get involved when it comes to bullying. In the United States, suicide ranks third highest in the cause of death for young people. In Great Britain, studies show that in almost half of the suicides reported, bullying was a contributing factor. The following 13 reasons show why intervening when a person is being bullied is of the utmost importance.
[pullquote]When the bullying is stopped, shortly after it starts, the negative impact left on the victim is dramatically reduced.[/pullquote]
- It Breaks the Cycle of Abuse – When you step in and stop a bully from harassing their target, it breaks the cycle of abuse and slows the momentum of the event. By asserting yourself and preventing the bullying activity, you send a positive message that bullying in any form will not be tolerated.
- Immediate Prevention Lessens the Impact – When the bullying is stopped, shortly after it starts, the negative impact left on the victim is dramatically reduced. They are able to recover their more quickly and can address the issue with less hostility. It also reduces the amount of power a bully feels and may actually prevent them from attempting the act a second time.
- Immediate Response Allows for Immediate Counseling – When the bully is caught in the act of harassing their victim, it can be determined at that point to what extent counseling is needed. This also applies to the victim, as well. While it is apparent that both parties will need some sort of guidance, the actual amount may be reduced if action is taken quickly enough. The quicker an act of bullying is stopped, the faster the entire situation is diffused and the group can begin to resume normal activities.
- Addresses the Issue at the Source – When a bully is caught in the act, there is little denying where guilt should be placed. Intervening allows the issue to be addressed immediately and without having to go through a lengthy question and answer process.
- Reduces the Number of Suicide Statistics – When the number of reported instances of bullying are reduced, the number of bullying related suicides drops as well. Addressing the issue and getting both parties the help and guidance they need, can solve both the problem of bullying, as well as the question of suicide. While it will not prevent every suicide, it can dramatically reduce the number of possible attempts, and with that being said, also reduce the rate of success as well.
- Sends a Positive Message that Bullying Will Not Be Tolerated – When individuals step and stop an act of bullying, it sends a positive message to both the bully and their victim. It tells the bully that violence in any form will be stopped and to the victim, it lets them know they are not alone and help is close by. The bystander who watches the act take place also receives a message. It lets them know that it is acceptable to report bullying when it occurs, whether it happens at school, in the park, a public place or in the home.
- Allows the Bully to Receive the Help They Need – While most people tend to believe that only the victim needs assistance, it is becoming quite clear that, in many cases, the bully also may need counseling and guidance. When you intervene, you allow the bully a chance to receive the help they need without looking weak. Most schools require students who are accused of bullying to receive some form of counseling, even if it is only for a short period of time.
- Helps to Teach Tolerance and Acceptance – In some cases of bullying, bullies often go after other students who are different in some way. Cultural differences, ethnicity, physical handicaps, financial hardship and learning disabilities are all differences for which students may get bullied. When an intervention occurs, it gives both students an opportunity to get to know one another, especially if their counseling sessions are to be held at the same time. In some schools and educational settings, students are encouraged to get to know one another through interaction and study groups. This allows both parties to gain a better understanding of the others particular situation.
- Prevents the Problem from Escalating – When a faculty member or teacher intervenes in a bullying situation, it sends a distinct message that bullying will not be tolerated. One simple intervention can send a message that bullying of any kind will not be tolerated and will positively reinforce the schools’ zero tolerance policy. Zero tolerance, in most cases, means that if a student is caught bullying another child, they may be expelled without warning if the case is severe enough.
- Gives Each Person the Opportunity to Back Away Without Looking Weak or Fearful – When it comes to bullying, saving face is extremely important. If a student or parent intervenes, it allows the victim to walk away gracefully without being afraid or ashamed. In some cases, a bully may go too far and not know how to de-escalate the problem without looking weak or vulnerable. An intervention allows both students the opportunity to walk away with dignity, even though they may be in a slight amount of trouble.[pullquote]When the number of reported instances of bullying are reduced, the number of bullying related suicides drops as well.[/pullquote]
- Prevents Others from Joining In – When a faculty member notices an incident beginning to take place, the quicker they take action, the less likely other students are going to be able to join in. When incidents take place in front of large groups of students, the group may attempt to join in by taunting or teasing the victim. Quick action on behalf of the teacher can prevent this from occurring. They can quickly take control of the situation and put things to rest before anyone else gets involved.
- Reduces the Amount of Collateral Damage – In any bullying incident, there will always be some type of collateral damage. In many cases, the victim is not the only person who is victimized. Other students may begin to fear for their safety and, by acting fearful, may increase their chances of becoming the bullies’ next target. When faculty members take it upon themselves to intervene, it shows the students, as well as the bullies, that the harassment will not be tolerated and it will be stopped. By decreasing the negativity, faculty members actually reduce the feelings of vulnerability that other students may be experiencing.
- Helps to Maintain a Sense of Order – When faculty members and staff can stand up to bullies, it helps to maintain a sense of order where students can feel safe and secure. They do not have to constantly worry about being attacked or threatened by bullies Many schools are encouraging their staff members to take control of situations in which students or other staff members are being threatened or abused. By allowing them the opportunity to intervene, it creates a positive atmosphere where it is well known that any type of violence will not be tolerated.
For every reason a person can provide that encourages involvement and intervention, another person can come up with a reason not too. The basic fact of the matter is that if you don’t step up and take control of the situation, it can escalate to the point where someone is physically or emotionally traumatized. Making a stand can be difficult, but, in most cases, if you take the first step and intervene, others will quickly follow to back you up.
Reporting bullying activity is also equally important. If you notice a person is being bullied and are in no position to stop the activity, immediately seek the help of another student, faculty member or adult bystander. It is extremely important that an intervention occurs as soon as possible to prevent any damage from occurring either to the person or to property. It only takes one person taking that first step to change the outcome of a bullying event. Any of these thirteen reasons why can make that difference.