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Did You Know?
The American Medical Association considers bullying or peer harassment a public health concern.

One of the most notorious forms of abuse, bullying is typically characterized by intentional use of physical or psychological aggression to enforce one's power on others. While a rare incident may not necessarily amount to bullying, persistent hurtful or threatening behavior definitely does. If the data compiled by the American Medical Association is to be believed, approximately 3.7 million students studying in the 6th - 10th grade engage in bullying, while 3.2 million students are victims of the same every year.

The problem is often considered a form of child abuse as it is quite common among children and teenagers in schools, but bullying at the workplace is also pretty rampant. In a survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) in the United States in 2014, 27 percent of the respondents said that they have been at the receiving end of abusive conduct at work at some point of time in their professional career.

Types of Bullying

Bullying, also referred to as peer abuse or peer harassment, can be broadly categorized into three different types.
  • » Physical
  • » Psychological
  • » Emotional
Physical Bullying: In this particular form of bullying, the victim is repeatedly subjected to physical harm in the form of hitting, kicking, pinching, shouldering, etc. It is one of the most common forms of bullying in schools; especially among boys.

Psychological Bullying: The second form of bullying, it involves calling names, racist remarks, repeated teasing, etc. Though this is more often restricted to school―among boys as well as girls, it is also observed at the workplace in varying degrees.

Emotional Bullying: In this case, the victim is subjected to humiliation, excluded from the group, intimidated with dire consequences, etc. While this form of bullying is quite common at the workplace, wherein a person is bullied repeatedly by his senior colleagues, the same is also seen in teenagers and children.

Yet another prominent form of bullying which has surfaced more recently is cyber bullying, wherein the victim is subjected to hostile behavior on the Internet. As opposed to physical bullying, which is prevalent among boys, cyber bullying is prevalent among girls.

Bullying Facts and Statistics

Has your child been making excuses to miss school of late? He might be one of those 160,000 school children who miss school intentionally to avoid being bullied by fellow students. Regardless of whether it is the United States or India, the problem of bullying is much more serious than we think. And bullying, mind you, is not just restricted to schools. The psychological and emotional forms of bullying are quite common at the workplace. Startling statistics on bullying given below will tell you how vulnerable your children―or you for that matter―are, to this form of abuse.
  • » If we are to go by statistics compiled by the American Psychological Association, approximately 40 - 80 percent of school children experience bullying at some point during their school careers.
  • » According to the Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS), 1 in 3 students in the United States say they have been bullied at school.
  • » Every seven minutes, one child is subjected to bullying on the school playground. What's more shocking, is the fact that 85 percent cases of bullying go on without any intervention from fellow students or teachers.
  • » Every half an hour, one child attempts suicide as a result of being bullied. Every year, around 19,000 children attempt suicide as a result of the same.
  • » The fact that the rate of school violence has gone down over the last few years is a bit misleading. Even though the instances of physical violence have reduced, psychological and emotional forms of bullying continue to exist and, in fact, have increased by 5 percent.
  • » Around 42 percent American teenagers have been subjected to cyber bullying at least once in life. Sadly, around 58 percent of them did not report the same to adults or the authorities.
  • » In 1999, Georgia became the first American state to pass school anti-bullying legislation. Since then, 49 states have followed the suit. The only state that is yet to join the fight is Montana.
  • » According to the 2014 National Prevalence Statistics on bullying compiled by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), around 65 million people are affected by bullying in the United States every year.
  • » As in case of children intentionally missing school, around a million workers miss work as a result of stress associated with workplace harassment.
  • » The data compiled by the WBI also reveals that 69 percent of perpetrators were males and 31 percent were females. In contrast, 60 percent of victims were females, while 30 percent were males.
  • » Even worse, in 56 percent of the cases, the perpetrator was the boss. On the other hand, in 33 percent cases, the perpetrator was a coworker. The victim chose to quit the job to escape bullying in 29 percent of the cases of workplace bullying.
  • » In 25 percent cases, the employer outrightly denied the prevalence of bullying, retorting to the clichéd it-doesn't-happen-here response. In 12 percent of the cases, employers took proactive steps to eliminate the same. Worse of all, in 5 percent of the cases, employers chose to encourage it citing that it promotes competition in the organization.
So the cases of bullying range from teasing and deliberate isolation to hitting and sexual harassment. It is very difficult to assess the seriousness of this issue as more than half the cases go unreported. Though the problem is quite common, victims seldom report the same owing to fear or embarrassment.

The effects of bullying range from undermining the victim's confidence level to poor performance at the academic or professional level. In some cases, the problem is severe enough to prompt the victim to quit school or job, or even attempt suicide. There have been such cases in the past and history could very well repeat itself, which is exactly why we should work towards the eradication of this evil.