Nobody likes a bully and the act of bullying is something people don’t ever willingly admit to.
So why do so many people fall victim to bullies on a daily basis?
Because most bullies escape the not-so-long arm of beleaguered PC Plod, along with the fact that this scourge is under reported, there aren’t reliable statistics available for us to understand the full scale of the problem. But what we do know, thanks to the NSPCC, is that as many as 16,000 schoolchildren are kept away from the classroom due to bullying. It appears we are living in a new age of bullying, where technology means there is little chance that the victim of sustained torment will be able to avoid it, even once they are in their own home.
Smartphones and tablets are a portal to another world of abuse although it is very difficult for those of us who haven’t grown up in the digital age to understand it. Most parents spend their lives in a semi-permanent state of anxiety about their children and the thought that one of their own could be the victim of bullying is a sickening prospect.
This was hammered home in the BBC’s Reporting Missing series which captured the pain of bullying so powerfully when the programme first aired. This episode focused on two vulnerable children who went missing from home, including a 13-year-old who was disappeared after leaving a desperate note for her family. The tense documentary underlined that the agony caused by bullying extends beyond the victims and those at home will have breathed a collective relief when she returned home safely. When the cameras returned months later, they captured a very sensible young lady who was reconciled with the fact she wasn’t one of the ‘cool kids’ and the bullies really weren’t worth it.
All schools are compelled by law to have a stringent anti-bullying policy but more needs to be done . Changing attitudes is the key and maybe the answer is that victims and maybe even the bullies themselves visit schools, colleges and even workplaces to tell their stories. Progress has helped solved so many of society’s ills – so why is bullying still such a problem?