Everybody has a different idea about what they consider bullying. Fact is, no single person is wrong or right when it comes to bullying. Most students have all, at some point in their school years, experienced bullying. Some of us believe there are still: students, family members, coworkers and peers simply in general out there being a bully to someone for their own sick amusement or self gratification.
Those of us that have experienced ‘bullying’ personally can agree that all forms of bullying are a force of abuse or intimidation that an insecure human being acts out to help them feel like they belong somewhere.
There are quite a few forms of bullying. College students should know the definition of bullying by now. It’s all over our televisions and on our iPods and cellphones. Physical attacks, name calling, insulting, teasing, shunning, writing on stalls, text messages, and photo messages are all methods people use to bully their peers. By the age of 23+ years, the average student usually has a different agenda and bullying becomes less of an issue. Then again some people’s minds remain in high school.
Jealousy is another reason behind bullying. People get jealous over friend’s boyfriends or girlfriends, peers with better grades, or financial stability; students can easily get jealous over anything.
Pause for a moment and ask yourself – some of us young parents, older and younger siblings to someone, teachers or tutors here – these questions: Have I ever been bullied? Have I been the bully at some point to someone else?
Not everyone experiences the same form of bullying. Men tend to physically attack their peers rather than verbally, while women on the other hand tend to be more verbal and indirect towards their peers.
Bullying is most common in middle school and continues on throughout high school and into our early years at college. Next time you use our campus’ restrooms look at the stalls; what you will see is someone’s words that are indirectly harmful to another student.
Over the years since the early 1500’s, bullying has gone from being physical abuse to verbal, to where we are today with cyber bullying. Cyber bullying didn’t pick up till the late 1990’s and has progressed over the past decade. It became most noticeable when networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Google+ became a worldwide hit among immature and now even older folks. Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has stated in previous interviews that for reasons like bullying, people deactivate their accounts, but more often than not, find themselves reactivating their pages.
Yuba Community College’s student body consist of young students fresh out of high school, young adults, parents trying to finish their education career goals, and older students coming back to further their degrees or maybe to learn something new. If you’re focused solely on your education and your social stance with your peers doesn’t matter to you, then you will be completely oblivious, like I’ve been, to the harmful acts we have around campus.
Make Beats Not Beat Downs (MBNBD) is a non-profit organization that stands for putting an end to all the bullying. Their research over the past few years has shown people how bullying affects us individually as well as the impact it has on our schools.
MBNBD’s organization has found that approximately more than 160,000 students everyday miss their classes because they fear being attacked or intimidated by one of their peers. Are we aware of the absentees when they are not in the classrooms? Does our administration, or we, even care?
Bullying has been occurring for centuries and continues in present time. Schools from elementary grades to early college years harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies every year and 2.7 million students are victimized, according to the Harvard University articles available at their website.
Over half of California’s schools have over 70 percent of their students who are victims of bullying, and only a few of them will actually report the harassment they experience. “Bully statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings,” as stated by the Make Beats not Beat Downs foundation.
I was able to talk with a few of our Yuba College students about this matter and their responses were identical to one another.
Jacob Olivares hangs out with mutual friends here at the college between classes and sometimes stays after, glued to the computers, so I asked him what do you think about bullying? Have you ever been bullied or a bully yourself to anyone? His response was to be expected. Bullying is at our college and all around our community. “It’s more indirect or cyber at this time, at our age, or else our bullies would hit someone and go straight to jail, no questions,” according to Olivares.
Another one of our students, Kraig Yarbrough, says “I have been bullied before and I’ve been the bully to people growing up.” What student hasn’t experienced bullying before?
Kristi Heiman told me her experiences with bullying go way back to her year in kindergarten, where her teacher would pick on her for being ambidextrous, and tried to force her to choose one hand to use. The bullying continued throughout her school career until she decided she wouldn’t allow it to control her life.
People will pick on somebody specific or groups of students about their weight, learning abilities, financial status, beauty, skills, sexuality, or anything else. I could go on for days, but I won’t. Bullies pick on the weak to make themselves feel more powerful. That might not be the word for it, but in essence it helps them to feel more secure in their own skin.
Yuba College students, I ask you guys to be completely honest with yourselves, with your experiences involving bullying, has your past hindered you to be who you are today? Or has it helped make you the person you are meant to be? For myself I’d say yes, being bullied has made me a stronger person and has made me strive to achieve what is impossible for the bullies to realize – that the ‘weak’ overcome and do or be anything they want to be.
Victims of bullying have the possibility of becoming harmful to themselves and others. The mental sickness doesn’t go away either. I used to be the victim of bullying. I use to be laughed at by students about my epilepsy and I would hear them whisper gossip behind my back and then they would say it to my face. As if my medical condition wasn’t enough to poke fun of, they would harass me about my clothes, my looks, my voice, and more and I would then read the nasty notes they would send to everyone online. I feel strong enough to say those harmful acts only made me a stronger person, a better person inside and out. The rumors I lived with growing up made me push myself to succeed and prove to my enemies I was undefeated. It wasn’t that easy though because it took me overdosing on my medications and cutting my wrist before I realized I could overcome my experiences and control my own life.
Remember, there’s always bullying around us everywhere. It doesn’t end here, but you’re not alone. Be the bigger person and show everybody what a difference it makes. Bullying statistics are that 1 out of every 10 bullied will drop out within their first year at college, if not sooner. Those that don’t intend on dropping out are more or less likely to react or seek revenge in the most unexpected ways their peers could expect; suicide or shooting.
That is all I will say for now, but look around students; we are the future and our children will follow in the footsteps of their role models. Do we want to be the community that everyone feels safe in or the one with everybody visiting the emergency and psych rooms?
Bullying can be prevented. It takes one person to stand up for victims and others will follow by example. Be the better student and keep your snide remarks to yourself. Try to make a new friend instead of another enemy, focus on your education, and keep your future out of the jail cells.