A bully is described as someone who uses strength or power to intimidate or harm a person whom they believe is weaker. An oppressor typically belittles another person because of insecurities within himself. As a result of being unable to deal with personal struggles, a bully will taunt someone whom he believes to be inferior and vulnerable. Although completely avoiding oppression in this day and age is nearly impossible, children can steer clear of continuous abuse by being aware of who bullies search out in school, and immediately responding to any type of oppression.
So what are the various types of oppression and where is bullying most common?
Types of Bullying: Physical and Mental
Many view physical abuse as the only sort of bullying around, but the federal government includes physical, verbal, and social interactions as three areas in which bullying can take place.
According to the institution’s website devoted to ending oppression, physical abuse can include anything from spitting to pushing. Even a person who spits at another individual but misses their target can be considered a bully since the purpose of spitting on someone is to humiliate them in public.
Such humiliation extends to social bullying in which a person is intentionally ostracized from a group. This type of oppression is typically seen when cliques come together and point out an individual’s differences before a captivated audience. Unfortunately, this sort of bullying goes unnoticed by educators and other disciplinarians in school because the act of ostracization is viewed more as the victim’s inability to make friends and less as the oppressor’s way of embarrassing that person.
Verbal abuse is also a form of bullying that is gaining more popularity these days. Although many classify words as being abusive when they prompt individuals to do the unthinkable, one does not have to say much to be offensive.
Remarks such as, “Your head looks big in that hat,” and, “That shirt looks weird on you,” can be viewed as abusive when the tone is right. Many see such comments as suggestions but fail to place themselves in the shoes of the victim who is constantly being told that their head is big and clothes look weird on them.
This is the essence of verbal abuse. Bullies tend to taunt their victims on a daily basis, which ultimately affects the self-esteem of the oppressed.
Grades in which Bullying is Most Prevalent
Although various beliefs credit small children with being brutal, studies show that bullying occurs more often in middle school. DoSomething.org states, “Physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant.”
From this it may be concluded that while verbal abuse is something that kids encounter from the first day they begin school, physical abuse increases as time progresses. A boy who starts out taunting a girl in kindergarten can end up pushing that girl into a locker when they get to middle school, if his bad behavior is not recognized and corrected by an adult.
Although bullies come in all shapes and forms, boys tend to become more heartless with their actions as the years pass. Such heartlessness may be why there are more cases of bullying in middle school than in elementary school. In addition, kids in middle school are transitioning to adulthood from childhood and haven’t yet attained the maturity level that most high school students have by the 10th or 11th grade. Hence the reason why some 6th and 7th graders tend to pick on kids who are different from themselves.
So just where is bullying most common?
Boys and Girls Restrooms
The restroom is one place that disciplinarians cannot be present all the time. As a result, it is the one place where most bullying takes place. Boys and girls who fall victim to oppression typically find that trips to the restroom are most stressful since entire groups of bullies can lie in wait for prey without being questioned by an adult as to what they are doing.
Several news stories have deemed the restroom as the number one place where physical bullying occurs. One mother took her story to the media after she informed the school’s administration of the abuse that her child underwent on a daily basis while trying to use the restroom. “One student distracted him, pointing in one direction. Then they pulled my son’s pants and underwear down,” said the angry mother. The school promised to “follow up” on the incident, but it wasn’t until a kindergartner was physically and sexually assaulted by a bully that administrators wholeheartedly addressed the matter.
It is this kind of nonchalance from disciplinarians and aggressive behavior from kids that makes the restroom a breeding ground for bullies.
Another place where bullying is prevalent is in the school hallways. Although physical abuse is addressed by disciplinarians, subtle social oppression often goes unnoticed. An entire group of girls turning their backs to someone who is trying to make conversation with them is a form of bullying that is overlooked by hall monitors because it is considered to be more of a personal problem that the child must overcome, and less of an issue that the school needs to address.
What monitors and other faculty fail to realize is that simple acts such as these can lead to physical abuse in later years. In addition, social bullying can anger the victim so much that she becomes the oppressor to her inferiors.
Granted it typically takes several instances of social bullying for the oppressed to become the oppressor, every unkind gesture leads the victim closer to displaying intimidating characteristics that she despises.
The Internet has become one of the greatest assets for bullies. Whereas in past times oppressors would only torture their victims during face-to-face meetups, they now go on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter to further drive negative connotations home.
It is not out of the ordinary for bullies to make inappropriate comments on Facebook, as the site has an inbox feature that allows friends and enemies to send an unlimited amount of private messages to subscribers. Twitter is also a danger spot for victims as anyone can follow a person without asking permission. An oppressor can essentially turn their victim’s online experience into a nightmare by sending threatening messages and tweeting demeaning comments all day and into the night.
Many do not realize just how stressful going to and coming from school is when one has a bully on their trail who lives down the street. Walking two miles can seem like a lifetime when teasing and pushing is included. Even going to the local market on the weekend may seems like a chore for the individual who knows that his bully is lying in wait.
Surprisingly enough, utilizing public transportation on school days does not resolve the problem of bullying when the victim and oppressor take the same bus to and from their destination. There have been several instances where children have been physically and verbally assaulted on the back of school buses because the driver was pre-occupied with transporting duties and couldn’t stop the bus to address the issue.
Although riding the bus is better than walking alone, the best way to handle a bully is to address him or her boldly.
What to Do
One of the first things individuals who find themselves to be the subject of oppressors should do is tell an authority. Children should first tell a disciplinarian at school and then inform their parents of bullying if the reported behavior is not properly addressed. It is not a good idea to allow oppression to grow as bullies have a way of becoming more violent with those whom they find to be weaker links. Instead, it is best to report any offense to adults no matter how great or small it may be.
In addition, parents should be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of bullying. Since some children will not report incidents immediately and may become afraid to say anything about their oppressors as time passes, it is important for moms and dads to recognize and address any changes in their kids’ attitudes. Crying and showing an overall dislike for school after once being excited to attend everyday should not be regarded as growing pains. In many instances, kids who no longer want to attend school are enduring physical and mental abuse that has sucked the joy out of learning.
What Not to Do
A parent should never sit around and do nothing if they suspect that their child is being bullied. Even if it is no more than addressing the poor attitude that the child now has for education, a mom and dad should strive to stay involved.
Adults should never let teasing, pushing, or inappropriate comments online escalate to a child committing an unthinkable act. This means that every instance of bullying should be addressed.
Asking, “Where is bullying most common?” is not enough. Action must be placed behind one’s inquiry about oppression to bring about freedom.