Bullying is something all of us have experienced to some degree. I certainly did as a child, and to some extent as an adult, as did my friends family, and acquaintances.
Defining bullying is a challenging endeavour. Barbara Coloroso's offers a concise definition in her excellent book, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander (2006) Bullying she writes "is a conscious, willful, and deliberate hostile activity intended to harm, induce fear through the threat of further aggression and create terror." Bullies tend to leverage power based on many factors including: size, age, social status, race, gender... Bullying can also be a group activity.
There are various forms of bullying. Below I have outlined three broad categories. These do not have to be mutually exclusive and one form can certainly lead to another.
Verbal Bullying: This is the most frequent form of bullying. I can involve: name calling, insults, malicious rumours, racial slurs... As Coloroso writes, "Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me, is a lie." Moreover, verbal bullying can sometimes be a first step to physical violence.
Physical Bullying: Shoving, punching, grabbing, pinching, kicking, taking property such as money etc.... This is the most obvious and the easiest to detect.
Relational Bullying: This involves attacking the bullied person's social relationships and status. This can involves isolating, ignoring, shunning. It is more insidious than physical bullying and more difficult to detect.
Cyberbullying: Intimidation, humiliation, reputation tainting - all via email, and various social media sites. With the proliferation of mobile devices that is becoming a growing problem.
In future blogs, we will address these forms of bullying in greater detail and explore effective ways of dealing with them.
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga Federation, Toronto