Bullying – a normalized but dangerous form of violence

Bullying has been a major concern for school and college students across the world. It is no secret that a significant number of students are victims of bullying and ragging, some of them with even fatal consequences. In many institutions, seniors ragging their juniors is almost a tradition carried on for generations. What seems like harmless behaviour or ‘casual fun’ is actually one of the most common forms violence in the society.

But what is the meaning of bullying? Centre for Disease Control and Department of Education in 2014 defined bullying as a behaviour which includes a repetitive action with the deliberate intention to hurt a person physically or emotionally. In other words, it is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through verbal, social and physical behaviour intended to cause harm. Bullying can happen in-person or online, on various digital platforms and devices.

In MTV Nishedh Season 2, Inaaya becomes a victim of bullying simply because of her progressive views on sex and relationships. What started as whispers in the hallways of Modern University soon became malicious comments hurled at her.

There are several forms of bullying experienced by children and adults, some have obvious signs while the others are subtle and plays on the blur line between harm and humour. The five major forms of bullying are as follows:

  1. Physical bullying

The most common form of bullying is physical. It includes pushing, kicking, tripping, hitting, etc.

  1. Verbal bullying

Verbal bullying has severe psychological effects as it harms the person emotionally. Verbal bullying includes name calling, insults, intimidation, nasty remarks, teasing, and abuse.

  1. Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying is defined as intentional and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers and the internet. With evolving technologies and the social media uprising, cyber bullying has become increasingly common and dangerous.

Cyber bullying includes using abusive or hateful language on text, phone, email and messages, spreading rumours, identity theft, etc.

  1. Social bullying

Social bullying is primarily intended to tarnish a person’s reputation. It includes lying and spreading misinformation, playing nasty pranks on the person to humiliate them, and encouraging others to socially exclude them.

  1. Sexual bullying

Sexual bullying includes repeated and humiliating actions that are sexual in nature or pertains to sex. For example, name-calling, vulgar comments and gestures, eve-teasing, uninvited touching, and pornographic material. Sexual bullying often makes way for the possibility of sexual assault. “Slut-shaming’ is also a form of sexual bullying.

There are many reasons why some people bully others:

  • to establish power and dominance
  • because the bully thinks they are funny
  • a way of gaining popularity and attention
  • stems from jealousy towards the victim
  • they are bullied themselves, so they bully others weaker than them to feel better

Below are a few tips on measures you can take if you are being bullied:

  1. Do not retaliate

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, it is best to not retaliate to the bullying as it may only get you in more trouble. Besides, bullying the bully makes you a bully too.

  1. Assertively tell them to stop and walk away calmly

You can practice standing up to the bully with a trusted friend or even in the mirror. Practice saying ‘No’ or ‘Stop’ in a firm manner with absolute confidence. This is effective because the bully is usually not prepared for the victim to take a stand for themselves.

  1. Confide in an adult

As terrifying as it seems, seeking help from a responsible adult can help put an end to the bullying and make things better for you.

  1. Know that it is not your fault

It is common for victims of bullying to believe that they have done something to deserve the ill-treatment. However, it is important to know that you are absolutely not at fault and that you only deserve to be treated with respect, kindness and love.

  1. Be strong, seek help to heal

Bullies like to bully people because it makes them feel powerful while the victim feels helpless. This can have both short term and long term psychological effects. It is crucial to remain strong in the face of bullying as it takes away the reward for bully. It is also important to seek professional help in dealing with the aftermath of bullying and healing yourself from the traumatic experience.

Bullying has a significant effect on the victim’s self-confidence and self-esteem. It can be difficult to rebuild these after being subjected to long-terms bullying. Some ways in which you can work on regaining confidence are as follows:

  • Surround yourself with people who make you happy
  • Celebrate your achievements
  • Practice small but consistent forms of self-love
  • Accept compliments instead of brushing them off
  • Learn to set your boundaries and respect them
  • Be your authentic self

Watch MTV Nishedh Season 2 to witness Inaaya navigating the judgmental hallways of Modern university, overcoming bullying and staying focused on her goals.

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