The latest research on the world of schooling shows that bullying is on the rise and that there is often a correlation between bullying and discrimination.
It is estimated that throughout the country, 35% of 11-19 year olds have been bullied. The victims involved are mainly girls (in 56.3% of cases), aged between 11 and 14 (in 40.6% of cases).
Finally, 10.2% of the children and adolescents involved are foreign nationals.
A person who was bullied during childhood or adolescence, as an adult, can present serious problems such as:
- school rejection,
- reduction of self-esteem,
- anxiety attacks,
- sleep disorders,
- afraid to leave the house;
- somatization due to stress.
According to Norwegian psychologist Dan Olweus, bullying is characterised by intentionality, repetition over time and asymmetry between the perpetrator and the victim.
It can be direct or indirect and sometimes take the form of cyberbullying.
Forms of bullying
Direct bullying is expressed through physical violence (pushing, punching, jerking, slapping, stealing bags or other personal objects…) or verbal (insults, blackmail, intimidation…).
In indirect bullying, the bully’s aim is to isolate the victim from the group, defaming or slandering them.
In direct and indirect bullying the basic component is a physical or psychological intimidation that is systematically repeated over time and creates a continuous behaviour of harassment and abuse.
Cyberbullying, on the other hand, occurs when acts of intimidation or violence are carried out through electronic means such as email, chat rooms, blogs, mobile phones, websites or any other form of web-based communication.
Often cases of bullying are not reported, generating a sense of discouragement and abandonment in students which can have a negative impact on their relationship with the school.
Every child must be able to go to school safely and without feeling oppressed and humiliated, but the general attitude of society towards violence and oppression must also be taken into account, so that protection is not only for the victims but also for the bullies (possible future criminals for their antisocial behaviour), who need help, to understand the reasons for their behaviour and how to learn to change.
The mechanisms are complex and the causes are different for each situation, but both the victim and the bully need to understand the social and psychological forces that are acting, so as to be part of the solution.
People who are victims are often shy, sensitive, anxious and insecure, have low self-esteem and lack social skills.
Physical traits that tend to be common to victims are: overweight, being physically small, some disability or belonging to another origin, religion or social group.
They feel guilty and ashamed: they do not necessarily see themselves as victims.
They may suffer from sudden mood swings, emotional disorders, physical health problems, sleep disorders, nervousness, anxiety, they shut themselves in and do not communicate with the rest of the world.
People who bully people do it because it is a way for them to feel better about themselves, feel important, popular and influence others.
Bullying is also a way of getting attention, getting what they want or punishing people they are jealous of.
Bullies often fail to understand how much harm they can do to others.
They think they are just teasing someone or playing a naive joke on them, they don’t have many social skills and don’t know how to be good friends.
If they witness violence, or if people have unpleasant relationships at home, they can reproduce what they see.
Physical punishment can also lead to bullying, because it teaches children that violence is an acceptable and useful strategy to solve conflicts and convince others to do what they want.
The principle of non-discrimination for Amnesty International
Amnesty International considers bullying to be a violation of human rights because it damages the dignity of those who suffer it and is contrary to fundamental principles such as inclusion, participation and non-discrimination.
Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone must be able to enjoy the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration “without distinction on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, wealth, birth or other status”.
The possibility of enjoying one’s rights without discrimination is one of the fundamental principles underlying international law and appears in almost all the most important human rights legal instruments.