By: Brisya Archuleta, Gabriela Bucio, Kevin Garcia and Alyna Martinez
Michelle and Autumn are best friends and have known each other since elementary school. Michelle is liked by everyone in school and makes great grades, while Autumn is usually made fun of and has rumors started about her all of the time. Michelle is Autumn’s only friend. As the rumors and bullying become too much Autumn commits suicide. The following day when the terrible news came out, the students that bullied Autumn realize it is too late to fix the things that they had put her through. Due to depression, Michelle starts to miss class and her grades and interest in school begin to diminish. Students should work together to include everyone and end bullying in schools so that Autumn’s story is not repeated. In the case of bullying, victims are not always the only ones affected; the situation reaches much further. This anecdote illustrates perfectly that all parties involved are influenced in some way or another.
Who is affected?
Victims: Bullying always involves a victim that will be affected either physically or mentally. Most victims will feel humiliated, have lowered self esteem and often times are unhappy around friends or loved ones. They may even start to see themselves as failures, but may not know how to find help. Habitual bullying may even lead to more serious side effects in victims such as:
- Loss of motivation in school or other parts of life
- Violent behavior
- Physically harming oneself or others
Bullies: Although the targets of the bullying are likely to be most affected by the intimidation, the bullies and the bystanders are also affected by this situation. Some of the more substantial are:
- Risky or violent behavior
- Higher sexual activity – leading to a higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy.
- Higher drug and alcohol abuse rate
- Higher high school dropout rate
Due to their behavior not being reprimanded, bullies accept these actions as the norm. In the long term, this leads to a more abusive home life and more violent behaviors in their adult life. This continued conduct can also be perpetuated on to the next generation. The bystanders can be similarly influenced and often time suffer from depression and anxiety.
How are people being bullied?
Now that we understand who is affected by these situations it is important to understand how these circumstances occur. Bullies use various techniques to gain power over their victims. These techniques include:
- Physical Bullying: Bullying with any physical contact with intent to harm.
- Relational Bullying: Exclusion from a social group to hurt someone emotionally.
- Indirect Bullying: Using more ambiguous means to gain power such as starting rumors or exposing private information.
- Verbal Bullying: Repetitive making fun or joking for any reason such as weight, sexual orientation or religion.
- Intimidation: Using scare tactics to torment or threaten another person.
- Cyber bullying: Bullying incorporating the use of technology and social media.
The bullying dilemma is based around the imbalance of power, whether that power is physical, social or emotional determines how everyone is affected by it. Our goal is to take the power out of the hands of the bullies. Students must make sure not to be a silent accomplice. Students should stand up against bullying and take responsibility for what is happening in our schools.