Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I sat up quietly and listened. It was a few minutes past 12 midnight and I really wanted to sleep but I needed to keep my promise to stay up for this very long midnight call. On the other end of the phone was a young girl (called Tutu in this article) whom I have never met, probably not a day older than fifteen. She was being pressured to contest for a beauty pageant at school by a “senior” who seems to ever be in her shadow. The threat was that if she fails to contest, she will be severely punished by this senior and her “gang”. However, her participation in this social activity will mean hanging out a lot with the social freaks at school which will affect her studies. What should she do? Tutu’s issue is one we all know but never pay much attention to- BULLYING!
Bullying is an aggressive behavior which treats people in an overbearing, domineering or intimidating manner. Bullying is more psychological than physical, thus it does not necessarily involve any physical violence. This can be done through name calling or other verbal abuse, extortion, exclusion from activities or coercing someone to do something against her will (Such as in the case of Tutu). A bully is someone who is authoritarian, resentful, overbearing and who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people repeatedly to boost her self esteem. Bullying is everywhere, it is not restricted to schools alone- we have Workplace bullying, online bullying etc., remember the bullying row on Big Brother show in 2007 that had Jade Goody's racist bullying of Shilpa Shetty, and recently Alex De Gale launch of foul-mouthed outburst at her housemates.
The effects of bullying can be serious and even fatal. Mona O’Moore Ph. D of the Anti-Bullying Centre, Trinity College Dublin, said, "There is a growing body of research which indicates that individuals, whether child or adult who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide". Victims of bullying can suffer from long term emotional and behavioral problems. People who are bullied can suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, which can lead to low self-esteem and increased susceptibility to illness.
The reason why Tutu called me aside being a fan of “Dis Generation” was because she wanted to talk to someone (70% of teenagers feel more comfortable talking to “someone”). Inspired by her, here is calling out for more Peer Support Programs and Trained Peer Moderators on Bullying! Bullying is a very upsetting and offensive act that must never be tolerated in silence. Have you ever been bullied? Do you know someone who is currently being bullied? Don’t just stand and do nothing, call a counselor or someone in authority for help. At least that was one of the advice I gave to my young friend. She sounded pessimistic about it though. “Ah, I’m afraid oh!” the threats of bullies sometimes discourages one from finding help but then, calling the attention of parents or teachers to take action against it will stop the bully from further abusing you and others.

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