This is another subject I have a substantial amount of knowledge on, the thing about bullying, it doesn't have to be physical. Anyone that's had any experience of this will already be fully aware of this fact. Emotional bullying is something that was witnessed frequently, when we were in school. I think everyone just puts it down to, it's just the way we were, it's what happens. We were kids growing up. This is an attitude that must stop, bullying is a life-and-death issue, we cannot ignore.
Being the boy with a front, in the new school, where we all find our feet during the first few weeks. It's normal behaviour to scope out who is who, maybe settle an old score that someone believed needed to be settled, from a previous encounter. This happened for me, the first day in the comprehensive, fighting in the queue before lunch. Being told in no uncertain terms, along with the boy I was fighting with, we would not be welcome at this school, if that behaviour happened again. Needless to say, that is what happened, now though, you are unable to defend yourself, if that's what you chose to do. Because you've been told you cannot fight, or you are out. These two boys became friends and are to this day, this behaviour at that time, was acceptable, it was what happened.
Then it began to happen with some older boys, they'd taken a dislike to me. Maybe it was because of the way I was acting, the fact I was friendly with some of the older girls, or the fact that the clothes I was wearing weren't standard issue. My older sister had been on hand, when my uniform was picked out. It wasn't in keeping with the normal uniform, being modelled on the older boys in her school year.
Whatever the reason for it, life was beginning to become uncomfortable. Thankfully, some boys a couple of years older than them found out and put an end to it. Apparently, older boys, bullying younger boys, also works the same way, whatever age you are.
In this case though, there was no bullying. The older boys, had a quiet word, that is important.
Even though the bullying stopped, and I understand these situations can go on for years, if left unchecked. I never felt truly comfortable around those people after that, always alert, suspicious. However we would say hello and be civil to each other, while passing, or being in the same company. Aquiring the knowledge on the functions of our brain, I again understand this feeling is automatic.
I enjoyed being around the guys a couple of years older than me, I felt secure around them. I'd take my rugby ball to school and they'd kick it to death on concrete, but that was fine, because I felt safe.
Again quite a few of these guys are my friends now, we played rugby together and some of them I've lived with, during the dark day's of my past.
This is a tough one, is anyone really going to say. We shouldn't do that, or, this is wrong. Probably not, they, themselves will be cast out. Or become the brunt of an attack, which they could be anyway, but it is never as bad, as it is for the person that is really on the receiving end.
When the bullying is physical, where it might be seen by others and possibly easier to deal with, you can also recover from a black eye, or a bloody nose. It is the emotional effect that accompanies it, that is what I believe has the biggest impact. This is something I've witnessed people carrying with them, for years.
There is now obviously the problem with social media, or internet bullying. It's the same thing, if anything though, I believe it to be even more cowardly. The way I'm told this is being achieved, is in a way where it's untraceable.
Any of this behaviour is unjustifiable, whether the persons involved were, or are, just going along with everybody else. Believing they are not actively involved, the, it was them, not me scenario. Everyone involved, is guilty by association, this needs to be stopped.
I received a message recently, from a now woman, that I'd been in school with. It said that I had been extremely unkind (well, words to that effect) when she had arrived at my school. My initial thought was, it wasn't so much me, as them.
I promptly apologised for my behaviour, while we discussed our feelings at that time. Interestingly she also asked me, if I'd myself been bullied?
Where this doesn't help the person being bullied in any way, it's interesting when you research the subject. Why people who have been bullied in some way themselves become bullies, this is a cycle that needs to end.
When I started working, the guy that owned the business, was a large man. Big in every way really, stature, opinions and voice. It didn't take long before I'd had enough, I now understand more about why, obviously.
I couldn't cope with his style of management. Plus, the environment had been manufactured where it was stressful, there was distrust and a general feeling of be careful what you say or do. But hey, he'd given me a job, a car and money, which at that time was fantastic.
I'd asked if I could drive my father’s company car, the first day I walked through the door, I believe. The answer to that question, was a definite no, you are not insured. A few weeks later he allowed me to drive his own company car, he needed to make some calls. If I was insured on this one, I must be insured on the other one, I remember thinking.
Sometime later, a colleague and I had to journey to County Durham. It was decided we would use my father’s car, who at that time was away on holiday.
My colleague saying he'd back me up for taking it, plus it wouldn't be a problem because he was confident, we would get the business. I crashed the car which had been taken away from me and placed in the hands of another colleague for safe keeping.
We didn't ask permission, I just picked the car up from our colleague's house, crashed it, leaving it on its roof, the night before we were to be there.
A job well done.
My colleague was quite correct, we did get the business and he went to great lengths, explaining to my boss. He thought a big reason for this was, the animation I had created as a presentation of the customers products. Before he said, Jason has something to tell you.
I wasn't too worried about the consequences of the conversation we had, he barked a little, although I believe he did acknowledge my efforts with the presentation.
By now I was talking about travelling, as my friends were doing anyway, what I didn't like and couldn't cope with.
The camels back.
When we got back, he said nothing. Then, when leaving for a trip to Germany, with me obviously waiting to see the outcome of my efforts, he told me he'd speak to me on his return. That is a conversation that never took place, where I wasn't initially too worried about the outcome.
After a couple of weeks thinking about it, the whole experience took on a completely different perspective. I was now angry at the fact that he hadn't said anything. Instead leaving me to think about it.
How could he act like that, when he'd go mad, when you put a cup of coffee next to your keyboard. At this point I was ready to leave and travel, that was the final straw.
I'm not sure if that's technically bullying, it's 'emotionally challenging', at the very least.
This is the kind of behaviour we took with us when we started our own business, a relatively short time later. I don't need to discuss this subject any further. I've already spoken about the stress, the experience and my feelings on this subject, at length.
Bullying of any kind, emotional or physical. Utilising the internet, social media, or face to face. Talk about your experience, don't attempt to address the situation yourself, discuss the problem before taking any action which might make matters worse. Most importantly, do not ignore the situation completely, in the hope it will go away.
Get it out in the open, in a safe environment, where there is no judgement. Together we can resolve this issue. We can discuss why this might be happening, the trauma, that's being caused by the experience.
If it's something that happened in your past, we can investigate how it could be affecting you and how we can negate it.
Don't allow bullying to affect you any longer, the following forms of bullying are illegal.
- Physical, where there is violence or assault.
- If there is theft involved.
- Continued harassment or intimidation, if you are experiencing threats, either by telephone voice calls, texts, or email, where you are being subjected to abuse.
- Hate crimes.
Importantly, don't allow this to continue, where the situation becomes desperate.
Bullying and schools.
It is required by law, that all state schools (not private schools) have a behaviour policy. This should include measures, aimed at preventing all forms of bullying among pupils.
The policy is decided upon by the individual school. All teachers, pupils and parents must be made aware of what the policy is.
Speak to a teacher, or your parents, about the situation you find yourself in. If this is an issue, give me a call on 07494677126, let's discuss the problem.
It is also a requirement that schools follow anti-discrimination law. Staff are obliged to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation within the school.
This being applicable to all schools in England and Wales.
If this is persistent and you feel like you can no longer cope, who have you spoken to at school?
- Form teacher?
- Head of year?
- Head of the particular section of the school?
- Deputy dead teacher?
- Head teacher?
Take a step back, think about why the bullying might be occurring. Is it one person, or several people? What is it they could be hoping to achieve?
Are they attempting to make themselves feel and look better, by making you look inferior, or small, in front of others?
Bullying and harassement at work.
Bullying and harassment is behaviour being exercised by another person in the environment, that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
Listed below are a few examples of bullying and harassing behaviour:
- spreading malicious rumours
- unfair treatment
- picking on or regularly undermining someone
- denying someone's training or promotion opportunities
These behaviours could be carried out:
- by letter
- by email
- by phone
The law at work.
Bullying itself isn't illegal, harassment however is. The unwanted behaviour must be related to one of the following:
- gender reassignment
- marriage or civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
Course of action.
As I have mentioned previously, it is beneficial, when the situation can be resolved informally first. Speak to the person, or people involved, find out what the underlying issues are.
If this isn't possible, we should talk to our:
- HR department (Human Resources)
- Trade union representative
If none of the above are successful, we can make a formal complaint using our employer's grievance procedure. If we are still unable to resolve the problem, we can take legal action at an employment tribunal.
There is the option of contacting Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) for advice: