Arcticle by: Michaela Adamantia Florou
Translation: Elina Papadochatzaki
Insulting phrases, threats, blackmails, beatings, pushing, spreading rumors, taunting, blackmailing messages and phone calls, sexual gestures, exclusion from social groups. Do you remember any of these? Do these remind you of something? If yes, then I guess you have already come across with the most powerful phenomenon of the past years, bullying; and maybe you were a victim, maybe you have bullied or you were just an observant.
From the previous mentions the movie “After Lucia” of Michel Franco came to my mind, a movie that feels like a punch in the stomach, which although it does not kill you, puts you on the track to compete with the rest of the society. A movie that negotiates the subject of violence at school and bullying, describing the life of sixteen year old Alejandra with her father after the loss of her mother and wife, Lucia and their moving to the city of Mexico, wanting to make a fresh start free from every aspect of their old lives. While their relationship continues to exist, by trying to protect each other from the sufferings they have to go through, they lose the depth of their meaningful communication. The father hides his depression by just existing next to his daughter, while she hides behind a smile the bullying she suffers every day from her new classmates at her effort to be accepted.
The bullying is a phenomenon that had a loud impact these past years in Greece, but had made its appearance a long time ago. Even if it is connected mostly with to school intimidation in our country, we have to point out that it is not limited just there. It concerns every form of violence, attack and domination in the area of family, work, school, our relationships and in the particularly popular, these past years, Internet.
Bullying has been defined as an aggressive, intentional act or behavior that is manifested by one single person or a group repeatedly, has a duration in time and is addressed to a person that is usually unable to easily his/her self. It can take the form of corporal (gestures, pushing, pinching, or demonstration of physical strength), verbal (intimidation, humiliation, oppression, insult) or even indirect bullying (bothering and aggressive comments, exclusion from activities and groups).
In my opinion, every one of us has been put in a position where we either had the role of the abuser, or the role of the victim, or even the role of an observant. So, how many times we thought it was just for fun? Unfortunately, nowadays we separate the “abuse” from “fun”, not by taking into consideration the original act, but its result. Is something “fun” something when not everyone is laughing?
Before we hurry to take place, I think it is best to examine spherically this phenomenon and instead of taking the place of a judge, we should try to better understand the society itself. To look behind these behaviors, behind every child and man and not to become just another abuser!
Beyond the labels that exist, looking a bit more deeply, without disgust, without hate, without the will of revenge, let us consider how sad it is that there are people who try to ascend by pushing the rest around them. Because the abusers are victims or at least they were once. I wonder how much misery they can hide in their souls, in order to feel powerful by making the others feel inferior than they are. For sure I do not defend them, but in a society where in our everyday life we try to find the next atoning victim of our sufferings, I wonder if I have the right to become their judge, when I have not even succeeded in limiting my own self.
On the other side, the victims that corporally and psychologically tolerate every situation of this kind without speaking about it feel shame for something they did not commit. They have got regretfully used to every kind of derogation and they refuse to take any other kind of place. Maybe they are even afraid or they expect someone to ask them what is wrong with them, to hold their hand, so that they can scream with all the power they hid inside of them.
However, there is another part and for me that one is the most important, the one of the observer, while he is present, his substantial absence is very loud. He is indifferent or is he afraid to speak? Whatever the reason, unfortunately the result stays the same. The abuser finds once more a place to enlarge his “ego” and the victim finds itself alone. So who should it talk to?
The truth is that it was very difficult for me to comment on this issue. It was difficult to waver in these three places. It really hides a weird feeling. Nevertheless, in conclusion, I would once like to stand in every each one of us, the skilled everyday abusers and to consider how different the world would be, if we stopped wasting every one of our action, in order to pull the others in our misery, so that we will not feel lonely. Maybe then we can manage to find the place and the time to stand up and to create common happiness in harmony.
Because a reaction is not to become the judge of others and view through them your own internal “monsters”. But to open your mind, to welcome the diversity from wherever it comes from and to learn to stand to your neighbor and not in front of him. So, have you reacted enough for today?
Carney, A & Merrell, K., (2001). Bullynig in Schools: Perspectives on Understanding and Preventing an International Problem, School Psychology International, 22, 364-382
Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What er know and what we can do. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Williams, K., & Kennedy, J. H. (2012). Bullying behaviors and attachment style. North American Journal of Psychology, 14(2), 321-338.