Harassment and bullying can be extremely destructive. There are several ways a person can be harassed or bullied. Physical and verbal abuse are used to manipulate and control others. In some cases, intimidation can go to the extreme costing individuals much more than just their self esteem. They can lose their jobs, their families and their livelihood. Harassment at any level should be carefully evaluated and dealt with quickly and efficiently. The longer harassment is allowed to go on, the longer the cycle will continue to perpetuate itself.
What Is Harassment?
A good harassment definition is the continued actions of one person or a group that are meant to annoy, bother or intimidate another person. Individuals harass one another for a variety of reasons. A person may be harassed or bullied out of anger, jealousy or just because another person feels threatened by some aspect of their personality. When trying to define harassment, it is important to understand the situation as well as the type of behavior being exhibited.
Many times a person will harass someone else because it provides a sense of power they may be lacking in other areas of their lives. In most cases, an individual who takes great pleasure in harassing or bullying others was picked on by others while they were growing up. Some people may not even realize that some of their most common behaviors are bullying or harassing in nature. Harassment in any form is unacceptable. It is important, however, to find the underlying cause and deal with it expeditiously. Finding out why the behavior is taking place is the first step in resolving any issues that keeps the destructive cycle in motion.
Bullying and Harassment
Bullying and harassment go hand in hand. To some, the main difference between bullying and harassment is the malice behind the behavior. Harassing someone can be as simple as taunting another person by doing something they hate just to annoy them. While the person doing the harassing isn’t doing anything to necessarily harm the other person, the individual on the receiving end can become quiet distraught.
Bullying, on the other hand, is often considered to be full of malice and ill will. A person who bullies others, often do so, not because of the power they receive, but because they actually gain some form of control over their victim. Bullying often leads to violence and retaliation because the bully tends to become physically aggressive as the behaviors continue to escalate. A study in New Zealand revealed that out of 2,466 reported cases, a fifth of them resulted in some sort of physical injury.
A bully is often overly aggressive and does not care who he hurts or why. When a bully is attacking others, it is important to address the situation with all parties involved. This includes parents, teachers and students. In the workplace, it involves meeting with members of management, supervisors and co-workers.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
An excellent sexual harassment definition is repeated, unsolicited sexual advances towards another person. In New Zealand, sexual harassment can also include the preferential treatment in return for sexual favors. The reverse can also be true. A supervisor may treat an employee in unfairly if he or she does not return their sexual advances. In some cases, their position with the company may be threatened. In over 90 percent of all sexual harassment cases in New Zealand were perpetrated by men against women. In a third of the reported cases, the victims were less than 20 years old.
Comedy Central introduced sexual harassment panda as a way of educating people about sexual harassment and how to protect themselves. The cartoon series, South Park, became the platform for the panda to discuss sexual harassment. While some kids inevitably watch South Park, the majority of the show’s tried and true audience are older teens and adults. The sexual harassment panda show addresses the issue of name calling and how devastating it can be.
Harassment in the Workplace
Workplace harassment can take many forms. A person can be targeted because they are applying for the same job as someone else or because another person was given priority over another employee. Members of management can harass other employees because they feel as if their position gives them the power to do so. Abusing their authority is a form of harassment just like when a supervisor threatens an employee’s job because they are upset about not reaching a goal. Neither is acceptable, but both occur on a regular basis.
In the workplace, it is important to establish a positive work environment. When employees are comfortable with one another and members of management are diligent about controlling negativity, bullying and harassing behaviors are reduced. Most companies attempt to teach employees about the dangers associated with bullying and harassment behaviors. When bullying and harassment are kept out of the workplace, employees are more likely to put more effort into their work and enjoy their jobs. Happy workers are more productive and look forward to continually doing their best.
The implementation of anti-bullying and harassment programs can help employees recognize the signs associated with these types of destructive behaviors. Whether a person is a bystander, a victim or the perpetrator of the destructive behavior, recognizing the signs and reporting instances of abuse are important if reports of harassment in the workplace are to be adequately controlled. Controlling harassment through public programs means educating the public as well as students and teachers.
Preventing Harassment and Bullying Behaviors
There are several ways to prevent harassment behaviors in both the workplace and in school settings. In schools, anti-bullying programs work well, especially in elementary school settings where the children learn at a young age that bullying is wrong. As students get older, those who work within the programs often become role models for younger students. They make themselves available for younger children who may need to talk to someone or ask advice on how to handle a particular situation.
In the workplace, employees are becoming more willing to report instances of abuse. Companies encourage their workers to report harassing behaviors in an attempt to keep the workplace running smoothly. When management refuses to help resolve a particular situation, employees can turn to government agencies such as the Ministry of Justice. The Department of Labor can also be of assistance. By contacting one of the agencies, an employee starts a lengthy investigation process.
Employees can also take measures into their own hands when it comes to being picked on by other workers. While reporting the incident to management is extremely important, how a person reacts to the abuse will set the tone for future events. If a person does not allow the bully to have the satisfaction of gaining what they desire, the bully will often times move on to someone else. Taking control of a situation helps a person to regain their personal power and restore their self confidence.
Harassing behaviors are unpleasant to say the least. They can shake a person’s confidence and cause them to become depressed and lose their motivation. Harassment occurs in every setting. Schools, businesses, even families, experience bullying and harassment. Wherever it occurs, it can damage relationships, cause a person to lose their motivation and prohibit a person from reaching their full potential. No matter where the harassment or other forms of abuse occur, it is important that the problems are addressed as soon as possible. By contacting school officials or the other student’s parents, a person will be able to talk to everyone involved and find a way to reach a positive solution. If a person was attacked physically or if there were any weapons involved, local law enforcement agencies may need to be called.
Taking the time to report instances of abuse not only breaks the cycle of negativity, but allows everyone involved in the situation to receive the help they need to get through a difficult situation. With the right counseling, a bully may be able to get to the bottom of whatever problem is causing them to crave power and control. It can also help them destroy the negative patterns that are keeping them from moving forward.
For the victim, counseling can help restore self-confidence, improve productivity and look at things from a more positive point of view. When a victim begins to realize that the bully may also be a victim, it can become easier for them to reach out and resolve the situation. Most counselors use exercises that involve both the victim and the bully in an attempt to help them work through their problems and come to a viable solution. When dealing with the issue of harassment, focusing on coming up with a positive solution for all involved is extremely important.