“Fat, ugly, dyke, nerd, sissy, fag, cripple, homo, Goth, sinner, stupid, dumb, whore, bitch..” or shoving your head in toilet seats, writing names on study desk at school, the bumpings and smackings, isolating someone from others; bullying takes many a form, and it might be mostly felt at schools.

Effects of Bullying on the National Economy

In the 2016-2017 budget, the Mauritian Government expenditure on education alone stood at some Rs. 16 billion; bringing the average spending per student per year to roughly Rs. 50,000. With some 15% of young people report being bullied, this equates to some 2 billion rupees of economic inefficiency of the education sector whereby these young people cannot benefit educational facilities to the fullest, with absenteeism, damaging of school properties, and so many more. Among this Rs. 2 billion, bullying of LGBT students in Mauritius stands at some 1.8 billion rupees of economic losses! These figures do not leave one insensible to the social ill that bullying represents.

To prevent bullying, one must inevitably understand how bullying manifests itself and why bullying is appealing to those doing it.

Types of Bullying

Bullying can be emotional, physical or verbal. Emotional bullying is a form of abuse whereby a person is subjected to a certain behaviour that results in psychological trauma such as depression, anxiety, etc. Emotional bullying include cruel teasing, backbiting, spreading rumours or excluding people from group activities, blackmailing or isolating someone.

Physical bullying is when one person or a group of people picks on or harasses another person by confronting them face-to-face. It can range from subtle actions to casually degrade the person over time, to a series of more aggressive and direct acts to purposefully hurt the person in a more immediate manner. Physical bullying can become more serious over time if not reported – where there can be irreversible, fatal or lasting effects on the bullied.

Verbal bullying is a means of using words in a negative way such as insults, teasing, put downs, etc., to gain power over someone else’s life. Verbal bullying is similar to emotional bullying. Name-calling and writing name tags are forms of verbal bullying.

Cyber bullying is another new form of bullying with the advent of social media. Perpetrators of cyber bullying are hard to catch and safety and security measures while surfing on the internet or networking must be observed.  

Why bullying occurs?

There are various reasons why bullying occurs, but in no way does bullying occurs because the bullied is inferior or lesser good. The structures that enable or disable bullying from occurring are:

  1. The immediate sphere – the personal perspective and space
  2. The social surroundings – peers, family, culture, etc.
  3. The institutional framework – policies and laws

Bullying occurs because the one perpetuating the bullying has some sort of short-comings. Often getting praised for the good that you do will make jealous people bully you. Talented, intelligent, determined, popular and creative kids are thus often bullied.

Identity differences such as language, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, physical abilities/disabilities, and social statuses are other reasons that prompt bullying. Bullies that do not understand, appreciate and embrace identity differences are prone to bully those who are different from them.

Bullying also occurs because the bully:

  • Does not like the other person
  • Finds bullying fun
  • Likes to feel tough and in control
  • Think that bullying will make him/her/ze popular
How to prevent Bullying?

Bullying can be prevented by addressing each of the three main enablers of bullying. Ways to prevent bullying can be:

  1. Changing laws and implementing adequate school policies that promote tolerance, discipline, equality, respect and acceptance.
  2. Have a greater involvement of and giving responsibilities to schooling actors such as teachers, class captains and staffs to be watch-dogs to identify bullying and to promote inclusive and participative spaces for all.
  3. Bringing about change on the personal level of each child and student by empowering and valorising each and every person for the good actions they do.

 FOKEERBUX Najeeb Ahmad

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