bullying

Interpersonal Violence

 
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Interpersonal Violence

A closer look at what it is, how that can look, and how to get help

 

What is interpersonal violence?

Interpersonal violence occurs when one person uses power and control over another through physical, sexual, or emotional threats or actions, economic control, isolation, or other kinds of coercive behavior. Some different types of interpersonal violence include:

  • Abuse is any behavior toward another person that is physically violent or involves emotional coercion, or both and one person is in a position of authority.

  • Bullying which is a type of harassment that can be verbal, physical, or online. It can also take the form of coercion where someone is threatened by another person and as a result of those threats, the person being bullied feels intimidated and pressured into acting a certain way or doing a certain thing. This is called peer pressure. Bullying can occur in all settings—school, work, home, neighborhood and the internet.

  • Intimate Partner Violence occurs when one intimate or romantic partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through words and actions that are physically and emotionally abusive. Dating violence can take many forms including physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, and emotional, sexual or economic abuse. It occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships and can be instigated by either males or females. According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced some form of severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.

  • Sexual Violence is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to. It can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. This can happen between strangers, acquaintances, coworkers, classmates, “friends”, intimate partners and family. It includes:

    • Inappropriate touching

    • Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration

    • Sexual intercourse that a person says no to

    • Rape or attempted rape

    • Sexual harassment or threats

    • Peeping or Voyeurism (watching private sexual acts)

    • Exhibitionism (exposing themselves in public)

  • Youth Violence refers to aggressive behaviors, including slapping, hitting, kicking, bullying, punching, fist fighting and knife fighting, as well as robbery, rape and homicide.

  • Gang Violence refers to acts of aggression and violence and criminal activity committed by a group of peers where the group usually has an identity (e.g. a name; a sign; a neighborhood). In some neighborhoods, the pressure to join a gang occurs early and can be very difficult to resist. Members often join to feel a sense of family and community, and to achieve power and respect. On the flipside, members may worry about their own safety and fears of being abused by others in the gang. Gang members include all genders.

If you are a victim of sexual assault, call a friend or family member you trust. You also can call a crisis center or a hotline to talk with a trained volunteer. One hotline is the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-4673.

Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. It is important to get counseling from a trusted professional. The US Department of Health and Human Services, Women’s Health Information website provides additional information about what to do if you have been sexually assaulted.

What triggers violence?

There are a number of reasons why a person might become violent. Some of those reasons might be:

  • Anger

  • Frustration

  • Sadness

  • Trying to control another person

  • Having a short temper

A person’s belief system might also influence how the person behaves. Someone who acts aggressively or violently may believe that violence is an acceptable way to deal with anger or an acceptable way to get something that the person wants. The person may also have grown up in a family where violence was part of how family members interacted with each other.

Some ways to stop being violent

Violence is NOT okay and nobody should have to put up with it. Being angry, confused or frustrated are all normal emotions, and there are non-violent ways of expressing these emotions. If you’re having trouble managing your anger, you might want to check out the Anger & Violence and Anger Management articles.

Deciding to do something about your violent behavior is a big step and it takes a lot of courage.

Look at what makes you violent. To stop this behavior, it might be useful to make a list of the things that trigger your violent behavior. This could be a person, a situation, a mood, or drugs and alcohol. By knowing what triggers your violent behavior, you can start to avoid these things or try to work out ways to deal with the situation.

Who is affected by your violent behavior? Does it hurt anyone physically or emotionally? Do you want to have safe and secure relationships, or do you want people to be afraid of you? These questions might help you see how your violent behavior can negatively affect you and the people around you.

Talk to someone. Putting an end to violent behavior is not always easy, and having someone to support you can be helpful. You don’t have to do it by yourself. Going to counseling or visiting another mental health professional might be able to help you find ways to deal with your violent behavior.

Drugs, alcohol and violence

Using drugs and alcohol increases the likelihood that a person might act in a violent way. If you’re finding that you become violent while drinking or taking drugs, you might want to look at ways to better manage your drug and alcohol intake. A counselor or other mental health professional who specializes in addictions counseling can help you do this.

 

Information for this article was provided by:

 

Acknowledgements: This article was originally developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com


Knowing Someone Who Is Being Bullied

 
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Do you know someone that’s being bullied?

A closer look at what you can do if you know someone that’s being bullied

 

What is bullying?

Bullying usually involves one or more people teasing, being violent towards, or harassing somebody on an ongoing basis. Bullying can happen in person or online and through cell phones. Check out the Cyberbullying and Being Bullied articles for more information.

Is someone you know being bullied?

Bullying might be difficult to recognize, as it can happen when the person is alone. People who experience bullying might be scared to talk about it, or they might feel ashamed about being bullied. This could lead to them trying to hide what is going on. If you haven’t been present when a person is being hassled, some indications that he or she is being bullied are:

  • Lack of motivation

  • Vagueness (especially when he or she is talking about certain topics)

  • Unusual behavior

  • Physical injuries

Take care that you don’t immediately assume that the problem is bullying. These signs might be visible for a variety of reasons, and not only because a person is being bullied. People can show these signs because of their personalities or because they’re dealing with other issues.

What to do if you think someone is being bullied

Talk to that person. It’s a good idea to talk to the person you think is being bullied to find out more about the situation. Try to remember that the person you are talking with could be very sensitive about the situation and could be scared to talk about it.

Let that person know you care. Help boost this person’s self-confidence. If a person is being bullied, it could affect his or her confidence. It can help to let this person know that you are a friend and that you care. It can also help to point out all the great things he or she has to offer others to boost his or her self-esteem.

Include the person into your group. Making a special effort to include the person into your group could help raise the person’s confidence.

Stick up for him or her. If you see someone is being bullied, it might be helpful to say something. Take care to ensure that in trying to stick up for the person being bullied, you don’t make the situation worse or put yourself in danger.

Speak to someone. Letting someone else know about the situation can help you solve the problem. A teacher, counselor or another adult could be helpful. It might also be helpful to involve the person experiencing the bullying in the discussion. Together, you can go and talk to someone about the situation.

Bystanders’ role in bullying

A bystander is mainly someone that is outside of the actual bullying, aware that it’s happening, and making a decision to not become involved. Whereas those bullying and being bullied are directly involved, bystanders observe the bullying happen and choose not to act. There are several things a person does, or does not do, that can make them a bystander. Some of those things include:

  • Purposefully ignoring the event entirely

  • Witnessing the event and choosing not to take the appropriate actions

  • Witnessing the event thinking something along the lines of, “at least that person wasn’t me.”

What is so wrong with being a bystander?

Research on bullying has often concluded that it occurs most frequently in the presence of bystanders who choose to merely watch the events unfold instead of doing something. By being there, you may give bullies more incentive to embarrass and threaten their victims because they will have an audience.

Unfortunately, many people believe that being a bystander is the best option to take. Some reasons people may not intervene:

  • Believing it’s “none of their business,” and therefore they choose not to take sides because it seems too nosy

  • Feeling as though stepping in will make them the new target for the bully

  • Thinking intervening will only make things worse

  • Fearful that telling a teacher or other adult will make them a “snitch” or “tattletale”.

  • Feeling it won’t doing anything or change the circumstances (this is especially true in students who have approached teachers before regarding bullying, only to find that no action was taken)

If you are in a bystander situation, how do you intervene?

Bystanders need to realize that bullying is a serious problem, and that a lack of action on their part will only give bullies more opportunities to torment their victims. Some argue that close to 50% of all bullying events stop when a bystander decides to intervene, which just further shows the importance of intervening. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you witness bullying:

Don’t assume that this is a private matter between the bully and the victim. Incidents of bullying, especially those that are frequent, are often not because of personal reasons.

Don’t combat violence with violence. It takes a lot of courage for someone to step up on behalf of a bullied person. However, don’t use insults or physical violence to defend the victim. Now is not the time to show off. You will most likely only make it harder for the victim.

Do not get discouraged if you have already talked to the teachers and nothing happened. Keep trying. Teachers and other school authorities will respond if they find out that the bullying is becoming a recurrent problem. Try talking to other teachers and counselors so that you can get more people involved in trying to stop the situation.

If you feel that this is none of your business, put yourself in the victim’s shoes. Bullying can cause severe anxiety, depression, anger, and frustration in a person, and can turn their life into a nightmare. You wouldn’t want to feel that way.

Is stepping in yourself the only way? What if the bullies might try and attack you?

You should never step in to protect a bullied victim if it might also put your own safety at risk. If this is the case, you should talk to a teacher, counselor, or even the school principal if the problem keeps happening. Be sure to ask if you can speak to them in private, in case you are afraid of being the next target for bullies. Even if you are not directly stopping the bullying, by taking action and going to seek outside help, you are taking steps away from being a bystander.

 

Information for this article was provided by:

 

Acknowledgements: This article was originally developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com



 
 

Cyberbullying

 
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Are you or someone you know being cyberbullied?

Take a closer look at what that means and what you can do about it

 

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that is carried out through the Internet or over technology, such as e-mail, chat rooms, forums, social media, instant or direct messaging, text messages, or in the comment section of a post or web page. According to some estimates, nearly half of American teens have experienced cyberbullying.

Examples of cyberbullying behavior are:

  • Teasing and making fun of others

  • Spreading of rumors online

  • Sending unwanted messages

  • Defamation

  • Threatening to hurt someone

  • Telling someone to kill themselves

  • Pretending to be someone else online to get pictures or personal information out of a person

Cyberbullying can happen to anyone and the bully can act anonymously. People can also be bullied online by groups of people such as classmates or collective members of an online community.

How you feel if you are being cyberbullied

Just like bullying in real life, cyberbullying can have terrible effects on a person. Being bullied can lower your self-esteem and you might feel alone, sad, angry and scared. If you are being bullied, it’s not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you. Don’t be afraid to let someone know that you are being bullied—they might be able to help you.

In some extreme situations, cyberbullying can be illegal, but in every instance, bullying is wrong. If you feel that your safety is threatened, call 911 or your local police.

How to stop cyberbullies

If you are being cyberbullied, it’s possible that you’re feeling powerless and isolated. However, there are actions you can take to stop the problem.

Keep a record (including time and date). This may help you (or the police) to find out who is sending the messages.

Tell someone. Talk to someone you trust, like a parent, friend, counselor or teacher.

Contact your phone or Internet service provider and report what is happening. They can help you block messages or calls from certain senders.

If messages are threatening or serious, get in touch with the police. Cyberbullying, if it’s threatening, is illegal. You don’t need to put up with that!

Don’t reply to bullying messages. It’ll only get worse if you do. By replying, the bully gets what he or she wants. Often if you don’t reply, the bully will leave you alone. Take advantage of the blocking feature that exists on most social media platforms.

Change your contact details. Get a new username, e-mail and phone number if you have to. When you’ve switched things over, only give your close friends and family the new contact information. It can also be helpful to turn off anonymous messages (or direct messaging altogether).

Keep your username and passwords secret.  Keep your personal information private so it doesn’t fall into the hands of someone who will misuse it.

 

 

Information for this article was provided by:

Acknowledgements: This article was originally developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com

 
 

Being Bullied

What to do if you’re being bullied

A closer look at being bullied and how you can help yourself stay safe

There are many things you can do if you’re being bullied. Different strategies can work in different situations. You can try and work it out by yourself, but if the bullying doesn’t stop, you might find it helpful to ask someone else for advice. Don’t be afraid to let someone know that you are being bullied—other people can be of great help. If you are being bullied at school, find a trusted teacher, school psychologist, guidance counselor, or administrator with whom you can speak. If you are being bullied at work, seek out a supervisor or a human resources manager.

Working it out yourself

Depending on how bad the bullying is (and as long as you aren’t feeling unsafe, frightened or physically threatened), you might decide to try and work it out by yourself first. Try and remember that no matter how hard you try, the bully might not be willing to change his or her behavior. At this point, talking to someone else can be really helpful.

The following tips might be particularly helpful if you’re dealing with verbal bullying on your own.

When possible, ignore the bully. Ignoring can be helpful, particularly for one-time cases. Bullies are looking for a reaction from you and often lose interest if they aren’t given the satisfaction of making you upset.

Suggestions for ignoring the bully:

  • Walk away when the bully approaches you. Try and imagine that you’re walking away from a friend. This can be a way of making sure your body language (which you’re usually unaware of) doesn’t give away a sense of fear

  • Concentrate on something else. Try thinking about what you’ll do next weekend, counting to 100, or planning your homework

  • Have a saying or a statement that you can repeat in your head when the bully approaches you to block out a sense of fear

Build a virtual wall around you. It might be helpful to build an invisible wall around you by visualizing it in your mind. Any verbal abuse then just bounces off the wall, never passing through to affect you.

Use visualization. Bullies can be pretty scary. Picturing that person looking silly might help to make them less problematic for you. For example, picture the bully’s head shrinking, or picture the bully in his or her underwear.

Stay positive. It can be hard to remember all your good points when someone is doing their best to be negative. Try to think of all the things you do well, and remember that you are a valuable person. Thinking of how bad the bully must be feeling can also help you stay positive. Often times, people that bully have been bullied elsewhere in their life. Everyone’s story is different, and we never know what someone is going through.

Surround yourself with people who care about you. Surrounding yourself with positive people who know and like you for YOU can boost your confidence. This will help you let bullying comments more easily roll off your back. It’s important that you connect with people who genuinely care for you and recognize all of your great qualities.

Hang around other people. You might be safer if you stay in groups. If you are alone, try to identify people who can offer you safety.

Be confident. Bullies usually pick on people that they think are weaker than they are, so it might help if you stand up to them.

Suggestions on how to stand up to a bully:

  • Telling him or her to leave you alone may get a bully off your back

  • Ever heard of the phrase “kill them with kindness”? Being nice to a bully may throw him or her off

  • Using humor can also throw a bully off track

  • Use positive self-talk. Try saying to yourself something like I know I am better than that. I’m not like that. I don’t have to pick on other people to know that I am good

  • Remember that your friends accept you for who you are.

Keep out of a bully’s way. It might be possible for you to avoid the bully. This can mean getting to school in a different way, or avoiding the places that you know he or she hangs out. By avoiding a bully, you’re not giving in, but looking after yourself and making sure you are happier and more comfortable.

Asking someone for help

To stop bullying—whether verbal, written or cyberbullying— it can be helpful to tell someone that you are being bullied. This can seem scary at first, but telling someone can lighten your load and help you to work out how to solve the problem. Talking to someone is particularly important if you feel unsafe or frightened, or if you don’t have many friends. Asking for help or talking to someone about your situation is not being weak or “giving in”. In fact, telling someone can take a lot of strength and courage.

There are many people who might be able to help, including friends, older brothers and sisters, teachers, family, counselors or parents. Teachers and counselors are specially trained to help you. In the workplace, you could also talk to a human resource manager or union representative.

Identify strategies that work for YOU. There are a number of ways to cope with the sadness, anger, fear, and isolation that can accompany bullying.  This can be something as simple as counting to ten or thinking of your favorite happy memory. It’s important that you identify coping strategies that work for you: think about what makes you happy or calms you and try to incorporate those things into your life. In the moment, use strategies that help you act appropriately and feel better. It can be a mantra you repeat to yourself or taking calming breaths. In the long term, there are a number of ways we can help ourselves cope with the feelings bullying creates: exercise, watching funny movies, talking to friends, playing with the family pet, etc. Find something that works for you, and if it helps, make a list of those things so you can remember all of the activities you’ve found helpful.

Some tips for getting help:

  • It might be easier if you talk to someone you know well and trust. This person can give you much needed support and might have suggestions for dealing with the situation that you might not have considered.

  • If you decide to talk to a teacher or counselor, you might feel more comfortable taking a friend with you. If you feel you might get too nervous to speak, write down what you’d like to say on paper or digitally. Don’t feel ashamed about coming forward—teachers and counselors are there to help.

  • If you think that the person you’re speaking with doesn’t believe you, or isn’t taking you seriously, or if that person doesn’t help you take action, it doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t valid or that the bullying should continue. It’s important you tell someone else and continue to do so until you get the help you need. It’s important to be your own advocate and speak up for yourself.

  • Being bullied can be upsetting and stressful, and it can affect your life in many different ways, including your self-esteem, relationships, work and education. If you are feeling particularly overwhelmed, it is important that you seek help from a mental health professional such as a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist. There is no shame in asking for help.

  • Remember, if you are in any danger of hurting yourself or someone else, it is vital that you ask for help immediately.

Your rights

Unfortunately there are no federal laws prohibiting bullying, but ever state has it’s own set of laws revolving around bullying. However, federally-funded schools are required to intervene if the bullying turns into harassment or is happening due to race, ethnicity, disability, age, sex, or religion. If the school fails to do anything to stop the harassment or discrimination, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division may be able to help.

Remember that everyone has the right to live, work, study and play in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. No one deserves or asks to be bullied.

 

Information for this article was provided by:


Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com