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Bullying is when someone repeatedly acts or says things to have power over another person. Bullies mainly use a combination of intimidation and humiliation to torment others. The following is some examples of bullying techniques:
- Calling the victim names; accusing the victim of uselessness in all of his or her pursuits
- Spreading gossip and rumours about the victim
- Theft of minor belongings of the victim's
- Demoting the victim without just cause
- Making the victim do what he or she does not want to do, using threats to ensure that the victim follows orders
- Cyberbullying through the use of various information technologies
- Repeated physical assault on a person, be it to his or her body or property
- Getting a victim into trouble with an authority figure, or incurring disciplinary action against the victim, for an indiscretion either not committed by the victim or for one that is exaggerated by the bully
- Making derogatory remarks about a person's family, (particularly mother) about one's home, personal appearance, sexual orientation, religion, race, income level, or nationality
Locations of bullying
Bullying can occur in schools, universities, families, between neighbours, and in workplaces.
Schools In schools, bullying usually occurs in areas with minimal or no adult supervision. Common places include the school bus, cafeteria, hallways between classes, bathrooms, and the school-yard during recess.
An extreme case of school-yard bullying is that of an eighth grader named Curtis Taylor at a middle school in Iowa who had been the victim of continuous bullying for three years, which included name-calling, being bashed into a locker, having chocolate milk poured down his sweatshirt and vandalism of his belongings. This drove him to suicide on March 21, 1993.Some bully experts have termed this extreme reaction "bullycide".
In the 1990s, the United States saw an epidemic of school shootings (of which the most notorious was the Columbine High School massacre). Many of the children behind these shootings claimed that they were the victims of bullies and that they resorted to violence only after the school administration repeatedly failed to intervene. In many of these cases, the victims of the shooters sued both the shooters' families and the schools.
As a result of these trends, schools in many countries strongly discourage bullying, with programs designed to teach students cooperation, as well as training peer moderators in intervention and dispute resolution techniques, as a form of peer support.
Since media coverage has exposed just how widespread bullying is, juries are more likely now to sympathize with victims. In recent years, many victims have been suing bullies directly for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and including their school as a defendant under the principle of joint and several liability. American victims and their families have other legal recourse, such as suing a school or teacher for failure to adequately supervise, civil rights violations, racial or gender discrimination or harassment, or other civil rights violations. Special education students who are victimized may sue a school or school board under the ADA or Section 504.
Bullying in schools (or other institutions of higher education) may also take the form of reduced grading, non-return of assignments, segregation of competent students by incompetent/non-performing teachers, for example, to protect the reputation of a college. This is so that their programmes and internal code of conduct are never questioned, and that parents (usually the ones paying the fees), are made to believe that their children are unable to cope with the course. Typically, these attitudes serve to create the unwritten policy of 'if you're stupid, you don't deserve feedback. if you're good, you don't need it.' Frequently, such institutions (usually in Asian countries) run a franchise programme with foreign (usually Western) institutions with the clause that foreign partners have no say in local grading or codes of conduct of staff involved on the local end. It serves to create a class of 'educated fools', people with degrees who have not learned to adapt to situations and create solutions by asking the right questions and solving problems.
- Main article: Bullying in schools
Workplace In the workplace, bullying is now one of the most contentious issues in the occupational health and safety arena.
However, with respect to workplaces, there are few localities that are governed by legislation which specifically targets workplace bullying. This is because lawmakers fear that those rules could be used as leverage in other industrial or interpersonal matters. Therefore most bullying claims are conducted under discrimination laws. In the United Kingdom bullying in the workplace is against the law under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
- Main article: Workplace bullying
Cyberspace Cyberbullying occurs in electronic space. It "involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, blogs, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others." -Bill Belsey
- Main article: Cyber-bullying
Familial Bullying in the family is normally ignored by society unless it includes a form of physical/sexual abuse. Once it does, outside parties such as the police and social services can get involved if the victim speaks up, or if the abuse has gone too far
Neighborhood Between neighbours bullying normally takes the form of intimidation by nuisance behaviour, such as excessive noise to disturb sleep and normal living patterns, and reports to authorities such as the police for minor or made up incidents. The purpose of this form of behaviour is to make the victim so uncomfortable they move from their property. It should be noted that not all nuisance behaviour is bullying, as some individuals are unaware of other people's feelings and the havoc they are causing.
Military Bullying in the military may occur when a superior persists in negative behavior toward his or her inferiors. Some argue that this behavior should be allowed because the military is not subject to normal civilian laws. Since military bullying is shielded from open investigation, subordinates may commit suicide out of lack of legal recourse. Deepcut Barracks in the UK is one example of the government refusing to conduct a full public enquiry to possible military bullying. In some countries, ritual hazing among recruits has been tolerated and even lauded as a "rite of passage" that builds character and toughness; while in others, systematic bullying of lower-ranking, young or physically slight recruits may in fact be encouraged by military policy, either tacitly or overtly (see dedovschina). Also, the Russian armies usually have older/more experienced candidates abusing - kicking or punching - younger/less experienced soldiers.
- Main article: Bulling in the military