Arrowsmith: Best way to fight bullies is to stand up

Wikipedia defines bullying as “the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual.”

One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power. Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly toward particular targets.

Robert Arrowsmith

Robert Arrowsmith

Rationalizations for such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.

Bullying can be defined in many different ways. Bullying is divided into four basic types of abuse — emotional (sometimes called relational), verbal, physical, and cyber. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion, such as intimidation.

Bullying ranges from simple one-on-one bullying to more complex bullying in which the bully may have one or more “lieutenants” who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities.

Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse. A bullying culture can develop in any context in which humans interact with each other. This includes school, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods.

What a complicated issue. I personally never dealt with it growing up. I was in one fight in third grade against a fifth grader. He tried to intimidate me, and I didn’t back down. But I also never really fit in growing up either. I moved often. I wasn’t in the best economic situation, but nothing compared to some of the struggles you see around us.

I played sports and had good grades, therefore the athletes saw me as a geek, and the smart ones saw me as a dumb jock. As a result I was a quiet, kept-to-myself kid all the way through with nothing more than a few friends.

I get why people have fear of bullies. You cannot put them away long enough when they commit an illegal act, therefore once they have been penalized they will just come after you again.

They have their groups so if one goes down, it riles the others up. Often you cannot just ignore them because that is what bullying is all about.

Bullying has been going on since the beginning of time when you really think about it. Conquerors throughout history have been about bullying.

I’m surprised in this era of social media that bullying has not been curtailed more. Curt Schilling recently called out a couple of people that tried to flex their twitter muscles against his daughter. I would think the ability to expose bullies would be easier today than ever before. It only takes an anonymous one with a camera phone, a video recorder, a sound recorder, etc. from anywhere around a bully to expose one for what they are.

Will bullying ever end? Worldwide, you don’t eliminate a problem that has been going on for thousands of years overnight.

Can bullying be curtailed? Absolutely; you have too many out there that are just doing it simply because they can. Those can be worked on.

Robert Arrowsmith is publisher of Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

rarrowsmith@cnjonline.com

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