The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be part of the solution to end relationship violence

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Bullying

The Statistics:

  • Nearly 30% of American adolescents reported at least moderate bullying experiences as the bully, the victim, or both
  • 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school
  • In a 2009 nationwide study, about 20% of high school students reported being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey
  • 5% of US high school students do not go to school because they feel unsafe

The “Who, What, When, Where, Why & How?” of Bullying:

Who is involved?

  • Bully (Aggressor)
  • Target (Victim)
  • Bystander (Witness)

What is bullying?

  • When one person (or a group of people) intentionally hurts another person (or group of people);
  • The hurtful behavior is done more than once or repeatedly; and
  • The behavior is peer-based (i.e., between two children or youth and not between a child/youth and an adult).

When does bullying happen?

  • Any time of day or night

Where does bullying happen?

  • In-person, face-to-face
  • Using technology

Why does bullying happen?

  • Difference: Usually victims of bullying are targeted because they are “different” in some way (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, family background, culture, disability, etc.)
  • Imbalance of Power: There is typically an imbalance of power between the bully & victim that makes the target more vulnerable (e.g., physical strength, size, age, social status, etc.)
  • Learned Behavior: Youth absorb the norms and messages of the culture that surrounds them, including from family, neighborhood, TV, music, books, movies, and adult role models. Bullying is a learned behavior, informed by the value & belief systems youth create based on the cultural training and societal messages they get from these sources.
  • Power & Control: Youth use bullying as a means to gain power and control.

How does bullying happen?

  • Physical: Most often used by boys, examples include: kicking, pushing, shoving, forcing people to hand over money or possessions.
  • Verbal/Emotional: Online or virtual forums are popular way to bully in this way. The goal is to make people feel inferior or invisible. Most often used by girls, examples include: hurting people’s feelings, leaving people out, embarrassing people (e.g., sending embarassing photos), saying or writing nasty things about people (e.g., online postings on Facebook, texting)
  • Sexual: This form of bullying can be through touching (e.g., forcing sex/sexual acts (rape), unwanted touching) or without touching (e.g., calling sexual names, sending sexual pictures, treating like a sex object, sexual harassment)

The Effects of Bullying:

Without intervention targets of bullying are more likely to:

  • Be depressed, lonely, anxious
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Be absent from school, dislike school, and have poorer school performance
  • Think about suicide or try to commit suicide

Without intervention bullies are more likely to:

  • Engage in antisocial and criminal behavior later in life
  • Experience domestic violence in adult relationships

Web Resources:

24-hour Hotlines:

  • The Family Place 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 214-941-1991
  • Texas Youth Hotline: 1-888-210-2278
  • National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE
  • Teen CONTACT Help Line: 972-233-TEEN
  • The Trevor Lifeline: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR