Education

Stand up, fight back

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Bullies exist everywhere; nip their advances in the bud

Bullying seems common, but what is it? It is verbal or physical abuse with aliases being ‘intimidate’, ‘harass’. It is the sadistic feeling of joy one enjoys when victimising the vulnerable target. Who is bullied more — men or women? Bullying knows no gender; although women are easy targets, sometimes, men have no escape either.

No convincing answer exists as to whether bullying happens more in university/workplace/home. Whilst your senior in school or authority at work victimises you openly, bullies exist at home too. The act is a torment trap from which victims know no escape. In principio, understand that bullies are human. We can handle bullies with inner strength and mental power.

Reasons for bullying range from bigoted attitudes, poor upbringing, insecurity, aesthetic appeal, employment, earnings, and more. Irrespective of the fitting reason behind this vilifying act, not all emerge stronger. Many have altered their circadian clock to end themselves. So, how do you handle bullying?

Say no to self-pity

Whilst addressing this, I confess for no want of self-pity that bullying in my life started in my early teens whilst growing up in a traditional joint family system in Chennai (then Madras). My naiveté being profound, initially, I never realised I was been bullied. I was at a crossroads; having none to share my trauma with, as I was a single child, any solace I got was from my high school friends. I laughed outside, despite my mental turmoil within. However, external intimidations fed my mental strength with which I excelled in my higher secondary examinations. Mouths that previously bullied my academic modicum, now remained shut. I experienced a surreptitious self-confidence that bullies could be handled. Success followed successively, until, some in my family started bullying me for my wheatish complexioned, average looks. Recollecting it, it is amazing to see how people are enslaved to this feeling, not realising anything you love looks beautiful to you. Contrarily, my employment status was important to others, and my independence and poor knowledge of religious dogmas has now made me the talk of the town. Bullying has followed me like the little lamb that followed Mary to school. At work, harassment began when my male chauvinistic superior, from a different cultural background, began misusing his authority on me. Determined, I fairly succeeded in alerting many within the organisation. Finding opportunities my way, I have progressed further in my academic profession. Narrating my experiences was not to invoke solace but to make you aware harassments still exist.

Knowing that there exists a pusillanimous majority, getting many cues from victims can help save their lives. A look of disinterest on their face; a sense of depression in their conversations are clear signals; enquire if they are okay or require help.

Instil confidence to harness the mental strength lying dormant in these victims.

Those suffering bullying, remember, seeking assistance helps. Talk to your close friend or confidante, else to a professional. If bullied, speak out boldly to let your trauma known. Do not despair; with mental strength, you can fight back. Becoming vulnerable victims is not an effective solution.

The writer is assistant professor, Business, Sydney, Australia.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 2:12:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/stand-up-fight-back/article22917566.ece

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