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Bullying, or even cyber bullying/harassment is a reality but mostly neglected by all until one becomes a victim. Is there something we can do about it?
It has become such a big menace that it had to be discussed in the parliament.
While a lot has been written about the psychology of bullies, not many ask the questions – “why and how do these bullies thrive? What emboldens them that they go on & on without any fear? Is it because they choose an easy target? Is it because they are backed by some powerful individuals or is it because of the callousness of the society in general?”
Many people don’t realise that the casual attitude with which people react to bullies only empowers them more. They are equally, if not more responsible for all the stress & trauma a victim faces.
People’s reaction varies from indifference to victim blaming. Many of them just turn a blind eye to it, go mute with no reaction. Their only advice will be to ignore, as if ignoring will stop the bullies. Rather the bullies survive on this very idea of indifference.
Few others feel it is a ‘silly’ issue, needs no attention while everyone has to fight bigger battles. Seriously, people, without addressing these ‘silly issues’, do you think you can take on bigger fights & enemies?
There are also the few who actually enjoy the whole episode of bullying! They delight in watching the bullying happen in front of their eyes. These are the people who have a secret desire to bully but can’t do it. The hidden bully in them enjoys seeing someone else do the dirty job; they think it is an ‘adventure’!
Then there are few who intervene and advise, but all their wisdom is only for the victim not the perpetrators. They suddenly feel everything is getting ‘ugly’, one should stop complaining, we always have other ‘issues’ & ‘bigger battles’ to be fought.
These people with their ‘holy than thou’ attitude pretend to be concerned, but in reality are scared to face the truth. They weave words to distract, demoralise the victims but will not utter a single word against the actual perpetrators. Their arguments are aimed at evoking sympathy for the bullies & showing the victims in a negative light. They accuse the victims for indulging in slanderous lies; some even manage to make the victim feel guilty! These are the people who would give advice for days but wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the victim for even an hour. They are worst among the all ‘spectators’.
People don’t realise that bullies don’t come from outer space. They are one amongst us. They manipulate the situation to their own benefit only because there are enough people willing to be manipulated. They know there are enough ‘hidden’ bullies and spectators who will not only enjoy the bullying but will also compliment them for the ‘wonderful’ job. They are sure that many would support them and may even save them when things get really serious. These people are the real strength of the bullies who otherwise are themselves fighting their own weakness & demons.
The callous indifference of people provides them with a fertile environment to bully and harass others until the victim is scared or shamed, until the victim starts feeling guilty and blames self, until the victim starts living in fear, until the victim is left with a scar for life or worst ends the life.
Only then many people outrage but even this outrage is fake. It is a just a pretence to show that they are worried. All the outrage is only words, hollow words with no meaning. If people are really concerned they should either learn to react at the right time or stopping outraging at the wrong time, or else all the outrage is meaningless. The cycle will continue until one of your’s becomes a victim.
Not just bullying – this holds true to all problems women face. You can’t pretend to be a humanist or feminist while you continue to be mute spectators to harsh realities. Your silence and indifference emboldens the perpetrators; it’s no use if you wait for the ‘right’ time to speak. As someone wise has said “The right time is always right now!” And more importantly, if you can’t stand with others at least don’t demoralise them. If you can’t speak for them, then please just say nothing at all! It’s fine if you can’t fight for victims but don’t blindly support the guilty. Can’t understand the situation? At least don’t judge others.
Social media is a public space which comes with many risks. The general indifference of people is the reason why cyber bullies become powerful enough to harass others. Sadly women face the worst kind of harassment ranging from abusive language, slander, and rape threats. All this happens on an open platform but very few try to stop it; a few brave ladies dare to complain but rarely any action is taken. A more strict implementation of laws and a proactive public can play a crucial role in curbing cyber bullying & harassment.
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Image source: flickr