I am 40 years old. (ouch; still hurts to say it) When I was in school, bullying was just always “there” - especially as a nerdy kid - though luckily things never escalated to anything “serious”. I did however have my share of bullying over the years ranging from teasing in the playground about my body, to being repeatedly punched in the shoulder for refusing to give answers to class-work. And in those days, teachers mostly turned a blind eye - certainly there was to my memory no anti-bullying policies or education.
In this new technological era, I truly fear for my kids growing up and facing the potential of cyber bullying. I can’t say that I ever remember hearing of a kid killing themselves due to bullying (stress over results, sure, but not bullying) - and yet now it’s practically “common” - even beyond school into adulthood cyber bullying claims lives.
Beyond the classroom too - bullying in the workplace is far too common, but more serious, and some think connected to bullying behaviour - sexual harassment / assult is now also coming under the microscope, especially over the past few weeks in Hollywood. There’s been some slow-burn events over the past few decades such as Bill Crosby and Australia’s Robert Hughes (Hey Dad!), but it feels as though the Weinstein story may have the potential to really put the focus on people who are abusing their power in the workplace - bullying people just because they feel they can, and in such an intensely destructive way.
Essentially bullying shows how, whilst we may walk on 2 feet now, we are not as far removed from animals as we may like to think. One can only hope that as we continue to evolve, intelligence rather than dominance will be the more desirable genes…