Fact About A Universal Phenomena: Physical Bullying

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The Dan Olweus, creator of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, opined that a person is bullied when he/she is exposed repeatedly and over time to negative actions, from one or more persons and cannot effectively defend him/herself. This is a widely accepted definition, though the use of the words ‘repeated’ and ‘over time’ is questioned by some.

FACT 1: Physical bullying is not usually differentiated from the other forms of bullying. All forms of bullying are considered equally undesirable.

FACT 2: Physical bullying by peers at school is a common place everyday experience and was in the past treated with apathy by parents, teachers and other adults responsible for providing children a safe environment in which to grow.

FACT 3: In Norway, in 1982 three young boys aged between 10 and 14 committed suicide. The news shocked this peaceful nation. When it was uncovered that the boys were all victims of severe and repeated bullying, the nation immediately took steps to evaluate the situation and develop interventions.

FACT 2: Anti bullying laws were enacted. These laws defined, prohibited and even criminalised bullying. However the enactment of these laws has not translated into a reduction of bullying.

FACT 3: The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program was developed in Norway. It has a whole school approach. The program has been implemented in schools in Norway and has significantly reduced the number of bullying incidents.

FACT 4: There was spate of school shootings in the late nineties in the USA. The authorities found the perpetrators to be terrified, resentful victims of prolonged bullying. These incidents created awareness among other industrialised nations of the West and Japan. Laws were passed and the Olweus Program is becoming standard procedure at schools in these countries.

FACT 5: Suicides brought on by bullying are not uncommon in the US and Canada. A survey done in the early 21st century, found that 30% of high school students are subjected to bullying in one form or another.

FACT 6: The reasons why kids bully are interrelated. Bullies typically have a need for power and negative dominance. They get satisfaction from causing physical injury. They are rewarded for their negative behaviour with psychological or material rewards.

FACT 7: The impact of bullying on the victim is negative and can impact their adult life. They include suicidal thoughts, health problems, low self- esteem, depression and poor grades.

FACT 8: The act of bullying also affects the witnesses. Fear and guilt, coupled with powerlessness and the temptation to participate are typical reactions.

FACT 9: Asian countries are also awakening to the crisis of bullying in schools. In rural Maharashtra, India 31.4% of students between the ages of 8 to 12 were victims of bullying. Of these 16% were cases of physical bullying.

FACT 10: Children are often bullied for being different. They could be poorer than the others, speak in different accents, display traits that are not consistent with the prototype of their gender of be of a lower caste. The trauma of bullying led to the death of 11 year old Oindrella Das. A group of older girls had locked her in the school toilet for hours.

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