Be a buddy, not a bully

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By Rose Jessica Octaviano

A Sound Mind

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


BULLYING is real. Bullying hurts. It is happening in our schools, in our workplace and even at home. Bullying is a deliberate act of hurting a person through words or actions.

These are the types of bullying with some examples:
*Physical– punching, kicking, or slapping
*Verbal – name calling, teasing, or joking
*Social/emotional – spreading rumors, intimidation
*Racist – insulting one’s color, religion, culture
*Sexual – making crude comments and vulgar gestures
*Cyber – done via text or social media

So, are you the bully, the bullied, or the bystander?

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Dr. Jocelyn Gauzon-Gayares, a child/adolescent/adult psychiatrist and a PMHA (Philippine Mental Health Association) volunteer, shared in one of her talks, that a research by PLAN Philippines in 2009 states that five of 10 Grades 1 to 3 pupils are bullied; seven of 10 Grades 4 to 6 pupils are bullied and six of 10 in high schools. It’s quite high.

The bully is usually physically bigger and stronger, he may also have witnessed physical violence at home, he has the tendency not to follow the rules, he may also be arrogant and narcissistic.

He tends to blame others for his problem and may also be envious and resentful. He tends to be more aggressive thus gets into more fights. He may also show little concern for the feelings of others.

The bullied is usually physically the smaller and the younger one. If he has low self-esteem, he will be easily intimidated and will have the tendency to withdraw. He may become passive and sensitive. He tends to be insecure and cautious. Worse, he may become depressed.

The bystander is neither the bully nor the bullied. This person has the “choice” to ignore the situation or find help.

Here are some signs to know whether someone is bullied:
*unexplained injuries
*missing money, food or things
*sudden change of behaviour (moody, sensitive, doesn’t want to go to school anymore)
*difficulty in sleeping or has nightmares
*change in eating habits

If you are being bullied or know someone who is being bullied, let us tell them that when they are being bullied, it is not their fault. It is never about them. It is about the bully—who is experiencing some problems that they displace their anger or problems to others.

We also teach them to tell the bully that they don’t like it. Bullied people should also go to a safe place where there are other people. They should never hit back or tease back, just look strong and walk away. They should also tell an adult they trust about what is happening.

However, if you are the bully or know someone who is a bully, let us tell them that anger is a normal emotion (just like love). We express it but not to hurt self or others. They should learn to calm down and express their anger by punching sand punch bags or box in the gym. Who knows? You may be the next boxing hero.

As mentioned, the bystanders have a choice to walk away or to help. Here are things we can do:

*treat everyone with respect – no one should be mean to other *stand up for others – inform your parents, principals/school head, teachers or guidance counsellors
*be an anti-bullying advocate – tweet about it, write an article about it, work with others
*protect yourself from cyber bullying – educate yourself with the privacy settings of your email or any social media page.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino signed R.A. 10627, a law against bullying, on September 12, 2013. The Anti-Bullying Law states, “The law defines acts of bullying in schools and direct the schools to adopt policies aimed at addressing bullying.

It empowers the Department of Education (DepEd) to “impose appropriate administrative sanctions on school administrators who fail to stop the bullying.” The whole document can be downloaded online.

The law is in its baby steps but it’s a law. But it is only limited to public secondary schools. Private schools and universities, however, are encouraged to make their own policies to address bullying.

If you feel that you are not being helped or you need more information, please call the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) Bacolod-Negros Occidental Chapter at 433-8868 or visit the office at Cottage Road, Bacolod City.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 20, 2014.

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