Bullying: Why Is It Frowned Upon And How It Affects Those Practicing, Experiencing and Witnessing It
Think Pieces

Bullying: Why Is It Frowned Upon And How It Affects Those Practicing, Experiencing and Witnessing It

There is a fine line between being mischievous and mistreating someone by being a bully. Two recent incidents are proof that bullying is a sin that should never be overlooked! Here is the downside

Bullying is an act which is looked down upon in every part of the world. Every child has a naughty gene in them which of course is natural. But there is a fine line between being mischievous and mistreating someone by being a bully. Charity begins at home is a saying that most people preach but do not practice. This brings us to the topic of primary socialisation where it is the duty of parents to instill in their children to be kind, sympathetic and caring towards others. You cannot blame the little ones and neither can you expect them to actually think twice before acting/doing something that is unacceptable. You cannot expect them to sit and ponder over what someone else may be going through at such a tender age because they are after all just children.

While many grow out of it as they age, some remain bullies for life and that is where the problem arises. Two recent incidents are proof of this: One where a nine-year-old Australian Schoolboy was bullied at school to the extent where he begged his mother to give him a rope so that he could take his life and the other where Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan reacted empathetically to a Pakistani girl’s tweet about her middle-aged cousin falling prey to maltreatment by an old-aged professor. For the unversed, a heartbreaking video of the little boy Quaden Bayles went viral on social media last week when he was spotted sobbing uncontrollably while seated in a car on his way home from school. Rightly worried and concerned, his mother uploaded the footage on social media and urged parents to educate their children about the harmful effects of bullying.

Bullying: Why Is It Frowned Upon And How It Affects Those Practicing, Experiencing and Witnessing It

Fast forward two days and a Pakistani girl named Marium Zulfiqar took to her Twitter handle and wrote, “My cousin, who has a stuttering issue, was giving a presentation in his class when the HOD/lecturer told him, ‘If you cannot speak properly maybe you should not study’ in front of the entire class. He has not come out of his room after this incident.” It did not take too long for heartthrob Roshan to read the post and instantly pen a touching reply. “Please tell your cousin that the professor and his judgment are both irrelevant. Stuttering should never hold him back from dreaming BIG! Tell him it is not his fault and it is not something he needs to be ashamed of. People who shame him are no better than brainless monkeys,” he responded. Victims of both incidents received ample support from people across the world and that is great… but where are we lacking as one big fat society? Bullying is not a cultural phenomenon; it is a worldwide evil and should be condemned. Our children – the future – need to be told to accept those from all walks of life, irrespective of caste, creed, class, gender and age.

Bullying: Why Is It Frowned Upon And How It Affects Those Practicing, Experiencing and Witnessing It

We won’t go on to giving a lecture now but long story short, bullying is something that affects all parties: The big bad bullies, those who are being bullied and those who witness the act. A small example may be that children and adults who practice aggressive and unwanted behavior (intentionally or unintentionally) may end up with no friends later in life or those at the receiving end may live the rest of their lives in fear, battling mental health issues and more. Bottom line: Be kind!

Bullying may take on multiple forms such as empty threats, spreading rumours and gossip, attacking someone personally about their physical characteristics or excluding them on purpose. Similarly, verbal, physical or cyber-bullying are equally frowned upon. For a better understanding of the detrimental effects of bullying and why controlling it is the need of the hour, here is a list of what it can do to a person in the long run.

1.       Lower self-esteem and self-worth: Being bullied can result in a person becoming an introvert and less confident. He/she may become hesitant to voice their opinion in fear that they might be taunted or made a mockery out of. What is the solution? Accept others for who they are.

2.       Mental health problems: Panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts fall in this category. When someone is constantly picked on, they tend to over-think why they are being mistreated, which may result in them becoming victim to a medical or severe health condition. What is the solution? Be sympathetic.

3.       The reverse effect: If someone is bullied throughout their childhood and considered to be the ‘black sheep’ amongst their friends circle, there might come a time where they get sick of being walked over on. This could end up in a reverse reaction in the long run, which means they may start getting too defensive about everything and grow up to be too aggressive and strongly opinionated. What is the solution? Be kind.

4.       Eating disorders: Victims of bullying may start to believe that they deserve the ill-treatment and there is something wrong with them. They internalise these feelings and suffer through the bullying privately, without voicing the injustice to anyone else. They often feel powerless and this may end up in eating disorders amongst some of them too. What is the solution? Be empathetic.

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By Manaal Khurram
Manaal Khurram is a Karachi-based writer who loves all things food and fashion, and is a Shah Rukh Khan fangirl!