I don’t watch Britain’s Got Talent regularly but whenever I’ve had a chance to, couldn’t help but notice that apart from Simon’s eye rolls one thing has been recurrent; bully victims.
Many people have come up and confessed they have been bullied at some point, which being so rampant in the western society slightly programs the audience and judges to be more sympathetic and consequently more supportive towards them. And why not? I was a victim myself at a very tender age of 5 years. I don’t remember much of school that year, only the agony and the daily battle of making up my mind to get up, dress up and show up for another day of abuse and exploitation. I kept quiet for a long time but my parents started noticing that I was returning with lost items everyday without an explanation. They did what had to be done. My bully left school at the end of that academic year. I don’t know what became of her. But I do remember her name and will always do.
Bullying has serious repercussions for the victim. It is a drastic blow to ones self esteem which leads to depression, anxiety and countless other psychological and physical issues. The self esteem of the victims is so botched that it’s hard for them to muster up the guts to stop being victimized at every point in life. After my stint with a bully, I had no school friends for almost two years. I admit I still have trouble making friends, maintaining lasting friendships without my immediate family or even striking a casual conversation. According to CDC, bullying is the third leading cause of all suicides every year and has been on the rise in the last few decades. Some victims resort to bullying others in order to vent out their anger, boost self worth and feel respected again. Hence more victims and more bullies.
But while our heart goes out to the victims, we totally tend to disregard the psychology and background of the bully. Bullying is not genetic or an inherited trait but rather a developed proclivity owing to one’s circumstances; family structure, culture, social and peer pressure etc. Although the fact is that bullies sprout from all economic levels and sociocultural backgrounds regardless of age, the contribution of the family institution is indisputable. Children who do not receive the much needed attention, respect as an individual and acceptance at home, their very first social school, seek it elsewhere through various means, hence the birth of a bully.
It may sound very idealistic but the changing dynamics in the family structure (single parents, both working or same sex parents) has a much greater impact on children than we can imagine. Children derive their sense of security from their mothers and identity from their fathers. A prolonged loss of contact or complete absence of either of the two may wreak havoc on the socio-psychological development of children.
Most educational institutions have clearly spelled out the ramifications such behaviour may have yet it grows unhindered when victims are confronted by bullies covertly in dorms or bathrooms or virtual environments. If we want to put a check on this growing issue, we need to begin at home. We need to instil a sense of acceptance in children, teach them to be empathetic and not crave for control that the media so audaciously promotes. More importantly, we need to give them time and an opportunity to express themselves so that their negative feelings do not fester for a long time and then are vented out in the most cruellest form possible.