Bullycide

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Failing to protect our children from bullying has a disastrous consequence: bullycide. Bullycide is a new catchword that has become part of the growing trend of bullying in schools.

Contents

Why should I be aware of this?

  • In majority of cases, bullying is still dismissed as a right-of-passage all children must pass through. There is bullying at every stage – at school, after school hours through stalking or cyberbullying (web bullying)
  • Kids take their own lives because they think it is their only way out of a hopeless situation. It is about the tragic choices they make in an effort to end the pain - when they believe there is no other solution. It is made more difficult as kids don't have enough life experience to guide them through difficult times

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center [1] reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers. In the US alone almost 2,000 teens are successful in their attempts to end their lives each year.

All about bullycide

Bullying is a relentless assault on the soul. It is not a single case of bullying, but the repeat factor which leads to bullycide. Bullying has a devastating impact on the emotional and psychological well being of victims. It is such a crime in which there is no punishment for the perpetrators, in spite of it being a repetitive crime – the victim is bullied over and over.

Indirect aggression

Bullying which leads to suicide includes non-physical harassment, such as peer-on-peer verbal abuse (like teasing, threatening, and trash-talking) and exclusion from the social hierarchy of school cliques.

Psychologists point out that indirect aggression, such as spreading rumors and marginalizing a child, does the most damage. Research reports indicate that in such cases of emotional aggression both the victims and the perpetrators have a higher incidence of serious mental health problems such as depression, loneliness, alienation, emotional distress, and isolation.

As emotional abuse goes undetected it causes the biggest harm

Why bullies bully

Once bullying was dismissed as a necessary character-building rite of passage for school children. But today both educators and researchers agree that bullying leads to serious physical and mental health consequences for both the bully and his or her target. One research in the US found that 60 percent of boys classified as bullies in middle school were convicted of at least one crime by the age 24.

One of the reasons for bullying is prejudice towards others by way of race, ethnicity, religion or culture. Research in the US found that one-fourth of American students are bullied at school because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

Taking apart those we don’t consider good enough is a part of global social phenomenon. It is a process which is so deep-rooted in society that even children feel the need to hurt other children in order to establish their supremacy.

Bullies also bully because they

  • Feel powerful by hurting others.
  • Want to draw attention
  • Are sure no one can stop them from bullying
  • Feel the need to control others.
  • Feel that because they have been hurt they too have the right to hurt others
  • Are very unhappy lot and want to make others unhappy too
  • Think that it is a "cool" thing to do

Why the bullied are bullied?

The bullied are less prone to violence and have a mature understanding of the need to resolve conflict with dialogue rather than violence. These values are exploited by the bullies to torment their prey. Over time the anger that builds up in the targets becomes uncontainable and explodes into violence. The heightened emotional maturity of the targets makes them vent the anger upon themselves, resulting in depression, self harm or suicide.

Often the treatment for targets of bullying is so designed that it destroys their self esteem and drives them to despair or suicide. There is also little investigation into the causes of bullycide. Often it is written off as the result of obviously troubled individuals.

There is a need to create an environment wherein the targets of bullying can come forward and speak out and be heard without any fear of reprisals from the bully.

Teen depression is at an all-time high. Add bullying to this situation and you have the makings of an inner-time-bomb that will eventually go off. Bullycide is a frightening consequence and unless this problem is addressed with the seriousness it deserves, the teen suicide rate will undoubtedly increase.

What can I do?

As parents we need to be aware of the following signs which indicate that the situation needs special attention:

  • There is a change in your child’s sleeping and eating habits
  • There is withdrawal from friends, family, and non-participation in regular activities
  • Behaves violently or rebels frequently
  • Takes up drugs or alcohol
  • Starts neglecting personal appearance
  • There is noticeable change in personality
  • Gets bored easily, lacks concentration
  • Often complains of stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
  • Loses interest in pleasurable activities
  • Is unaffected by praise or rewards

A teenager who is planning to commit suicide may also:

  • show signs of low self esteem
  • become suddenly cheerful after a period of depression
  • have signs of psychosis (hallucinations or bizarre thoughts)

When a child says that he is planning to take his life, take his words seriously and seek assistance from a qualified mental health professional.

References

  • Bullycide
  • Fighting Back
  • Bullying and Suicide Information

Additional Information

  • For useful information visit STOP-BULLIES.COM
  • YouTube Video - Bullied to Death

Source

  1. The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center