Speaking up about Bullying - Things to Watch Out For!

Written by: Meenakshi Joshi – M Sc
(Psychology)

Last updated date : March 30, 2022

Table of Contents

Speaking up about Bullying – Things to Watch Out For!

  1. What Is Bullying?
  2. Speaking up about Bullying
  3. Tips for Speaking up about Bullying

We all have been bullied. When you make fun of someone, you do not know what it is going to do to them. Or if you are targeted by your peers, then it can hurt you very much. Speaking up about bullying is very important. It means that you need to tell someone about bullying.

Chapter 1:
What Is Bullying?

Speaking up about bullying is important. However, you first need to know what is it and how it looks.
  • Show of power – When someone tried to show that they have some unreal power over you or that they are better than you, it is bullying. For example, a big or heavy built boy trying to show a much smaller and lean boy that he is so much more stronger and powerful.
  • Aggression – This includes being aggressive and trying to scare someone. For example, at school, an older girl tries to scare a younger girl by pushing her off the swing during recess. She wants to show that she can use force to frighten the younger girl. This type of aggression is used to intimidate others.
  • Making fun of others – When a person or a group of people make fun of someone who they do not like or feel that this person does not “belong” or “fit in”. You can make fun of others based on
    • how they look- height, weight, colour of skin, hair type, facial features, etc.
    • how they behave
    • their religion
    • whether they are male or female
    • their social status
    • their financial status
    • what their parents do (in case of teens and children)
    • their intelligence
    • sexual orientation or preference (teens and adults)
    • profession and work they do
    • where they live
  • Gossip and rumors – Speaking ill about someone is also bullying. When you spread rumors or when you gossip i.e., speak about someone behind their back, you are bullying. Usually, gossip is negative. You tend to talk bad about someone behind their back.
Where can bullying happen?
Speaking up about it is the only way you can tell if bullying has happened. However, it can happen anywhere.
  1. School – Bullying is very common in schools. It can have a long-lasting effect on children. It can shatter their self-confidence and can make them feel weak.
  2. Colleges – Teens and young adults can be very judgmental. They may tend to ridicule others and make fun of others to look “cool” and become popular. Show of power to be famous is why there is so much ragging and bullying in high school and colleges.
  3. Workplace – Even adults can bully. Bullying happens a lot in schools and colleges but it can happen at a place of work too. The form it takes might differ. But adults can bully and can be bullied as well. Bosses or superiors bully their employees and juniors. Gender-based bullying is also seen in the workplace.
  4. Teams – sports teams, music bands, etc. – You can see bullying happen in teams. For example, in sports teams, seniors or better players might bully the new or weaker players. They may tease these new players about their skills and performance.
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Chapter 2:
Speaking up about Bullying

You need to talk or speak up about being bullied. You need to try speaking about bullying. People in authority, for example, teachers, principals, professors, counselors, coaches, management, bosses, etc. will come to know about it only and only if you talk about it. You need to tell them about bullying. 

Also, you need to report bullying. Sometimes, you might not have direct experience with bullying but you might see it happen to others. Your friend or classmate might be bullied. You can see how it has affected their mental health. Parents, teachers, siblings, friends, and even people who might not be directly related can speak up about it. 

When to tell others about bullying?
You need to tell others about bullying and you need to tell others at the earliest. Do not feel pressured or scared about speaking up about bullying.
  1. You might want to try to take care of bullying on your own. We all feel scared or embarrassed to tell others about it. We feel it is our fault and hence we do not talk about it. This is okay as long as you can handle it and it is not harming you. But bullying can be a very difficult experience. So, do not try to take care of it on your own. For example, if a peer is using force to scare you, then you need to report it. Also, if his comments are getting personal about how fat you are or how short you are, and those comments are affecting your peace of mind or are mentally disturbing you, you should not continue to be quiet. You need to tell them about his bullying as soon as possible.
  2. If you are the one bullying others, then you need to stop. It can have a very deep and bad effect on people. So, you need to stop what you are during and learn to be kinder to others.
  3. If you see others bully someone, you should not be quiet about it. Instead, you must report bullying if you see it. For example, you see your teammates bully a new team member, they make fun of him or tease them. First, you should talk to these people. You can try to talk sense into them, make them see their fault. If this does not work, speaking about the bullying to your coach or team leader should be your next step.
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Chapter 3:
Tips for Speaking up about Bullying

When you are trying to tell a superior or authority figure about bullying, here are some tips that you can follow.
  • Find a person you trust and tell them about what is happening. You can tell a person in authority directly if you are comfortable with doing so. If you are okay with speaking about bullying to a teacher, counselor, or superior, then you can directly tell them about it. If not, then you can tell a friend or peer you can trust about bullying.
  • Tell this person that you need help and want their advice about something important. You can tell them about all the things you have gone through.
  • Be honest and accurate when you talk. Do not make up stories or lie as it will backfire on you.
  • Be as detailed as possible.
  • You need to tell about how all this has affected you. You need to say what mental stress and pressure you feel as a result of this bullying.
  • If you can recall specific instances, then try to do that. Being vague might not help this person understand what has actually happened.
  • Be honest about how you have reacted and your role in all this.
  • Plan to tell an authority figure with your peer if you are first talking to a peer about bullying.
  • With their help, you can be sure and confident when you talk about bullying.
A final word about speaking up about bullying

Bullying is not okay. It can make life difficult for the person who is bullied. You should be tolerate bullying and nor should you bully others. If you are bullied or see someone being bullied, then speaking up about the bullying is the right thing to do. 

You need to be confident and fearless when you are talking about bullying. The person who bullies others is at fault and not the person who is being bullied. You should not be ashamed to talk about it. So, do not hesitate.

Talk to someone you are comfortable with and someone who can help you to deal with the situation. You need to be honest, detailed, and sure about what you are saying. Also, you need to be ready to face the people who are bullying you. You need to be ready to take the next steps needed to stop this bullying.

You should visit our courses pages and look for courses that can help you. It can help you can learn to deal with bullying and improve your self-esteem. It will help you empower yourself and be confident to make your life better.