The concept of ‘bystanders’ who do nothing is one that has had catastrophic consequences in history
We also tell children to stand up for their friends if they are being bullied, to have their back, and to tell the truth. All of these are easier said than done, but are crucial life lessons to learn.
The concept of ‘bystanders’, who stand to the side and do nothing but allow the bullying to occur, is one that has had catastrophic consequences in world history. We need only learn about the Holocaust to acknowledge this.
But what about when we are adults? Is bullying any less of an issue, or is it just as rife but under different guises, and never discussed?
A definition of bullying is intending to hurt someone, repeatedly, and it can be emotional or physical.
Kids often keep quiet for fear that it will simply aggravate the aggressor, and because they believe that they will therefore suffer further for it.
But is it any different for adults? Do we ever really practise what we preach?
A new term begins in a couple of weeks, and I expect there are children out there who are dreading the return to school.
Children who know that there is a group of peers, or perhaps just one in particular, with a whole bunch of negligent bystanders, waiting for them in the playground.
These children will be on edge, simply waiting for the bully to hurt them, whether with insults, or by lying about them, laughing at them, or hurting them physically.
And I am willing to bet that there are adults, too, in that exact same position. Fully-grown adults who are keeping their heads down, keeping their mouths shut, and trying not to aggravate the aggressor.
Schools always quote bullying statistics but, for the people being bullied, it constitutes 100 per cent of their life.
If you are being bullied, then try to speak out.
If you are the negligent bystander, then try to be braver.
And if you are the bully, then shame on you.