You have a right to feel safe and be safe. Being bullied can make you feel miserable and powerless but things can change.
There are things you can do, and doing something will help you feel like you are taking your power back.
How you might feel
Bullying affects each person in different ways. Common feelings include:
- ashamed that this is happening to you
- hopeless and stuck and can’t get out of the situation
- like it is your fault
- alone, like there is no one to help you
- like you don’t fit in with the cool group
- depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people
- unsafe and afraid
- confused about why this is happening to you
- stressed about what to do.
But, you’re not alone and it’s not okay.
It’s awful to feel this way, but it is not hopeless and there are things you can do. You don’t have to feel like this.
What can I do at school?
Your school has a responsibility to ensure you have a safe learning environment free from violence, harassment and bullying. Your principal, teachers and school staff need to know about bullying so they can deal with it quickly.
Talk to someone
Telling someone shares the problem. It helps you feel supported.
It’s not weak to tell someone. Bullying is not ok, ever!
It is really important to tell someone, particularly if the bullying has been going on for a while or the strategies you’ve tried haven’t worked.
- Talk to your friends—they can help you tell a teacher or your parents or just to feel better.
- Talk to your parents—tell them the ‘who, what, when and where’ of what’s been happening.
- Talk to your teacher or another staff member—tell them the ‘who, what, when and where’. If you don’t want to do this where others might hear you, make an excuse to see the teacher about something else, for example your homework, and talk in private.
Try some strategies
These strategies should only be tried if you are not in any immediate danger of being physically hurt and you feel confident you can do them.
- Ignore the bullying—turn your back and walk away.
- Act unimpressed or pretend you don’t care what they say or do to you. You could say ‘Okay, whatever’ and walk away.
- Say ‘No’ or ‘Just stop it’ firmly.
- Try using ‘fogging’ to distract or discourage the person without making them annoyed. Fogging means making a joke or funny comment that makes the other person think you don’t care about what they say, or pretending to agree with them so they have nothing to bother you about. For example, you could casually say something general like, “Yeah, that’s the way it is”, or “Okay, since I’m so …. (using the person’s bullying words); I’ll cope. I better just go then, bye.”
What can I do away from school
Bullying can happen anywhere. It can even happen in your family. If family members or others do things that hurt you, scare you, or make you feel bad about yourself, then this isn’t okay.
Talk to a family member who can help you—tell them the ‘who, what, when and where’ of what has been happening. If you prefer, talk to your teacher or another staff member privately. Talk to a friend to get help to report it.
If you feel unsafe you can call the police.
What can I do online?
Bullying online can happen to anyone, anytime, and can leave you feeling unsafe and alone. Online bullying can be offensive and upsetting and you don’t have to put up with it!
Tell an adult about the online bullying. This could be a parent or carer, relative, adult friend or teacher.
Your school may have policies in place to deal with bullying whether it happens in person or online if others students are involved.
You can protect yourself online or on your phone with a few simple strategies.
- Do not retaliate and do not respond when you’re angry or upset.
- Give your phone number to friends only.
- Keep your mobile phone away from those who shouldn’t have your phone number.
- Use ID blocking on your phone to hide your number when you call others.
- Think before you send a text message or make a call.
- Keep records of calls or messages that are offensive or hurtful.
- Don’t share your passwords, not even with friends. Things change, even good friendships.
- Social media is a public space. Don’t post anything you really wouldn’t want others to see or know about.
- Treat your friends how you would want to be treated.
When cyberbullying involves these activities it is considered a crime and should be reported to law enforcement:
- Threats of violence
- Sexually explicit messages or photos
- Taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
- Stalking and hate crimes
Report Cyberbullying to Schools
- Cyberbullying can create a disruptive environment at school and is often related to in-person bullying. The school can use the information to help inform prevention and response strategies.
- In many states, schools are required to address cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment.
What can I do at work?
Your boss has a responsibility to provide a safe work environment where there is no violence, harassment or bullying.
Keep a record
Keep a diary of any bullying or harassing behaviors. Documenting everything that happens, including what you’ve done to try to stop it. This is useful if you make a complaint.
See if your work place has a bullying and harassment policy and a complaints procedure.
If you feel safe and confident, you can approach the person who is bullying or harassing you and tell them that their behavior is unwanted and not acceptable.
If appropriate, tell them you will make a complaint. If you don’t feel you can do this, that’s okay.
The best person to talk to might be your supervisor/manager, a harassment contact officer, or a health and safety representative (if your work has one).
Otherwise, talk to your parents or another adult. If you don’t have someone you can talk to face to face, there are support services which are available to help and support you.
Get information and advice
If the bullying is having a serious impact on you, and the situation has not changed after reporting it to your manager (or someone else in charge), or if there isn’t anyone you can safely talk to at work then you can get outside information and advice. You can get help from:
- your workplace health and safety authority (if it’s a large workplace) for advice and to report bullying incidents
- the union representing your industry who can give advice on your options and your rights
There are many different ways to respond to bullies in a non-physical way. If the behavior still doesn’t’ stop, consider reaching out to get help via any of the methods listed above. Come in for a 30-day-free trial and the staff at Karate Denver can work with you to establish specific ways to deal with the bullying that you are facing. What have you got to lose?