Rationale of the study:
In the article, “Overcoming
Bullying Behaviour,” (Clore&Hibel, 1997) bullying was described as “one or
more individuals inflicting physical, verbal, or emotional abuse on
another-including threats of bodily harm, weapon possession, extortion, civil
rights violation, assault and battery, gang activity, attempted murder and murder.”
Nowadays, students avoid going to school and create somatic symptoms
because of the fear of bullying behaviour. Bullying is one of these problems which appear highly prevalent yet
inconspicuous enough to miss even the sharpest of the eyes therefore the
researcher has taken up the problem of bullying for the present study.

In Global context, according to Sheras
(2002), incidents of bullying are reported every two seconds of every school
day yet the same are dismissed as being “tomfoolery among friends”. Students
every day try to seek help but gain none which leads them to associate emotions
such as fear and loath for the school environment; whereas in the Indian
context the picture is grimmer. Ethically speaking, the problem of bullying is
seemingly non-existent. Reports or researches on bullying in India are a rarity
and people’s awareness regarding the bully-victim relationship ubiquitous. The
gravity of the situation is such that people become perpetrators of bullying
yet fail to acknowledge the same given their ignorance. Hence it is imperative
to spread the word and educate the society about this deadly phenomena and this
paper aims to work towards the same.

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Objectives of the Study:

·        
To
understand the problem of bullying and victimisation; its meaning and types and
causes.

·        
To find
out if any laws are there regarding bullying behaviour.

·        
To
reduce the ignorance and create awareness in society about bullying.

·        
To
explore the preventive measures related to bullying.

Methodology: The
doctrinal research method was followed in the present study. For this
paper, secondary data from various sources such as newspapers, journals,
articles and studies has been used.

Introduction: Adolescence
can be an age of both discovery and disorientation. According to World Health
Organisation (1996) “Adolescence typically describes the years between ages 13
and 19 and can be considered the transitional stage from childhood to
adulthood.” However, the physical and psychological changes that occur in
adolescence can start earlier, during the preteen or “tween” years
(ages 9 through 12). This transitional period can bring up issues of
independence and self-identity.

During
this phase, adolescents face a series of problems such as physical problems
related to growth and development, childhood illnesses. There are various psychological
problems like mental health disorders, risky or illegal behaviours, including
injury, legal consequences, pregnancy, infectious diseases, and addiction.
Psycho-social, cognitive repugnancy and emotional adjustment is a hallmark of
this phase of development because even adults struggle with issues of identity,
autonomy, sexuality, and relationships and other related thoughts keep them
preoccupied.  Eating disorders, obesity,
smoking, drugs abuse, irrational and violent behaviour, etc. lead to acute
health problems, chronic disorders, or morbidity later in life. Behavioural
disorders are more prevalent during adolescence such as: Oppositional Defiant
Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and bullying,
as a risk factor, can play a significant role in the development of some of
these disorders than during childhood, and that may lead to the development of
unhealthy behaviour during adolescence.

What is bullying?

The
term “Bullying” can be defined as a unique and a complex form of
interpersonal aggressionthat is manifested in different patterns of
relationships. DeHaan (1997) defined
bullying as ranging from teasing, to stealing lunch money, to a group of
students physically abusing a classmate. He said that bullying is very similar
to other forms of aggression, but there can be some distinctivefeatures:(a)the
intention of bullying behaviour is purposeful, rather than accidental, (b) the
goal is to actually gain control over another child through physical or verbal
aggression, (c) usually bullies make their attack without any real reason,
other than they see their victim as any easy target, (d) bullies are usually
more popular with their peers than children who are simply aggressive.

Bullying is a learned behaviour. Ryoo, Wang,
and Swearer (2014) found that students assumed different roles in bullying
across school years. Indeed, youth can observe bullying (i.e., bystanders),
experience bullying (i.e., victims), and perpetrate bullying (i.e., bullies)
across different situations and/or over time. Across contexts, for instance, a
student may be victimized by classmates atschool but bully his or her siblings
at home. Importantly, these distinct patterns of involvement are associated
with different mental health outcomes.

Types of Bullying:

There are
various types of bullying such as:

·          
Physical bullying:Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, tripping,
pinching and pushing or damaging property. Physical bullying causes both short
term and long term damage. 

·          
Verbal bullying:Verbal bullying includes name calling, insults, teasing,
intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse. While verbal
bullying can start off harmless, it can escalate to levels which start
affecting the individual target.

·          
Social bullying:Social bullying is designed to harm someone’s social
reputation and/or cause humiliation, lying and spreading rumours, negative
facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks,playing nasty jokes
to embarrass and humiliate, mimicking unkindly, encouraging others to socially
exclude someone, damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.

·          
Cyber bullying:In Cyber bullying, a person can do harm to others through abusive or
hurtful texts emails or posts, images or videos, deliberately excluding others
online, nasty gossip or rumours, imitating others online or using their log-in
by using digital technologies such as computers and smart-phones, social media,
instant messaging, texts, websites and other online platforms. There are
different kinds of Cyber-bullying: (a) Overt bullying, (b) Covert bullying, (c)
Public bullying, (d) Private bullying etc.

·          
Sexual bullying:Sexual bullying is a serious issue that needs to be tackled. It
can be said that sexual bullying is any behaviour which degrades someone,
singles someone out by the use of sexual language, gestures or violence, and
victimising someone for their appearance. For
example: Abusive, sexualised name calling and insults, unwelcome looks and
comments about someone’s appearance or looks, either face to face or behind
their backs, inappropriate and uninvited touching without consent, sending the lewd image to others without consent is a
form of sexual bullying, inappropriate sexual innuendo that is persistent and
unwelcome, sexism in all its forms and gender stereotyping roles of male and
females, graffiti with sexual content or display/circulation of inappropriate
material of a sexual nature, such as pornography, badges or clothing depicting
inappropriate sexual innuendo or language, etc.

Causes
and factors behind bullying:Bullying behaviour is
not just the result of individual characteristics, but is influenced by
multiple relationships with peers, families, teachers, neighbours, and
interactions with societal influences. Toddlers routinely grab toys from other
children, bite and push when they are angry and refuse to take turns. Much of
the bullying behaviour has its roots in normal childhood development.
Adolescents who gang up on others are exploring similar social issues on a more
sophisticated level, and those who engage in sexual bullying are often
responding to a surge in hormones. Fried and Fried (1996) felt that even
environmental factors can lead to the development of bullying behaviours.
According to Ross (1996) social status or economic status doesn’t play a role
in the qualifications of a bully. He clearly feels something deeper than
economic disadvantage or lack of popularity is at work when a child feels
compelled to abuse others. For instance dominating and anxious bullies
frequently come from homes in which power issues dominate, and in which sibling
interaction is more powerful than child-parent relationships. Also parents who
rarely talk as equals with their children and expect their demands to be met without
question often encourage bullying behaviour in a child. A child who gets into
the habit of dominating a sibling and whose parents fail to intervene may also
grow up assuming that physical, verbal, social or sexual abuse are both
effective and normal. A number of studies have shown that the most common
response to victimization is anger. Without adult help in channelling their
anger in positive ways such as getting their abusers to stop, expressing their
feelings through words or positive actions, bully victims rid their feelings of
victimization by picking on other children.

 

FEAR
AND ANXIETY IN THE VICTIMS, PSYCHOLOGICALLY SCARRING THEM

SOCIETAL
INFLUENCE

                    

RELATIONSHIPS

ENVIRONMENTAL
FACTORS
 

CAUSES
AND FACTORS BEHIND BULLYING BEHAVIOUR

IMBALANCE
OF POWER IN THE MINDS OF THE PERPETRATOR

HORMONAL
SURGE

 

 

 

 

                       

WILL
TO DOMINATE

CRIMINAL
TENDENCIES AND CRIMINAL ACTIVITY IN THE BULLIES

ANGER

 

 

 

 

Global
Prevalence Rate of Bullying:The statistics have demonstrated the daily
occurrences of bullying behaviour in the schools. This may occur for several
reasons such as a child trying to gain a
specific social status, or the fear they may be bullied themselves. Studies
have found the majority of bullying takes place on school property, but 50% of
elementary students and 35% of high school students go to a parent for help,
very few see a teacher. An estimated one-third of victims have some contact
with a school counsellor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist (Harvard
Mental Health Letter, 2001).Fried & Fried (1996) also felt child bullies
are at greater risk for problems in the future. He concluded that by age
thirty, 25 percent of the adults who had been identified as bullies as children
had a criminal record. The statistics communicate the need for parents and
teachers to have a clear understanding of bullying and victim characteristics
and interventions techniques, which would de-escalate the situation.

Bully-Victim
Relationships: Bully-victims represent a small percentage of bullies who
have been seriously bullied themselves. Bully-victims are often physically
weaker than those who bully them but are almost always physically stronger than
their own victims. They are easily aroused and sometimes provoke others who are
clearly weaker than they are. Bully-victims are generally unpopular with their
peers, and they are more likely than other types of bullies to be both anxious
and depressed.

Peskin et al. (2006) identifies bully-victims as those who
are both bullied by others and bully others. Quite often, children may be
victims at home and a bully at school. Bully-victim relationships fit well
within this depiction of conflict and aggression. As bullies and victims
conflict over differences resulting from perceived or real power or hierarchy,
it is most likely that they will use competitive methods of conflict
resolution, not collaborative ones. Bully-victim relationships will involve
short-term, negative conflicts in which participants use strategies such as
aggression, giving in, or withdrawing to resolve the conflict. Bullies often
choose aggressive methods of conflict resolution, while their victims often use
avoidance strategies. A child could have been a victim all through childhood
and when emerging into adolescence or adulthood decides it is time to take
control, control over others. Rigby (1993) also indicated that the
predisposition to bully others and to be victimized can possibly be correlated.
Bully-victim-witness relationships must be viewed within a bidirectional
context. Thus, bullies impact behaviours and thoughts of victims; conversely,
victim impact behaviours and thoughts of their bullies in a bi-directional
fashion. Indeed, the bully-victim relationship is often composed of multiplayer
interactions and is further complicated by influences such as other peers
(witnesses), school personnel, and the children’s families.

Victim:It can be
said that victim is often a person who suffers from destructive acts, either
emotionally or physically. They are mostly random, undeserving people that were
simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, researches revealed that
victims quite often find themselves in the same situation over and over again.
Bullies do not randomly attack their peers; instead, they target a specific
subgroup of students who are often victimized over the course of several years.

Types of victims: Olweus(1996)
describes three types of victim: the passive victim, the provocative victim,
and bully-victim.

Passive victims do
not directly provoke bullies. They face social isolation, often seem anxious,
depressed, and fearful, and have very poor self-concepts. They have few
friends; feel lonely and sad, and more nervous about new situations. This
cluster of symptoms makes them attractive targets for bullies who are unusually
competent in detecting vulnerability. According to Swearer and colleagues (2001),
“The victims’ behaviours and emotional states may make them vulnerable to
bullying. The bullying behaviour towards them may perpetuate their issues with
low-self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and loneliness, which may make them
increasingly vulnerable to bullying.”

Provocative victims
represent a small group of children who often behave in ways that arouse
negative responses from those around them, such as anger, irritation, and
exasperation. They possess a cluster of characteristics that are likely to
disrupt a classroom and lead to social rejection by peers, including
irritability, restlessness, off-task behaviour, and hostility

Bully-victims
represent a small percentage of bullies who have been seriously bullied
themselves. Bully-victims are often physically weaker than those who bully them
but are almost always physically stronger than their own victims. Bully-victims
are generally unpopular with their peers, and they are more likely than other
types of bullies to be both anxious and depressed.

Causes or factors
behind victimisation:Multiple factors contribute to a bully’s selection of
victim, including the complicated interplay of a bully’s motivation, a victim’s
characteristics, and the specific circumstances of the bullying situation, need
to display power and to attain financial satisfaction.

Law and bullying:  In the case of University
of Kerala v. Council, Principal’s colleges, Kerala & others the court had opined
that:

“Now the Question arises, why should the Indian penal
laws not apply to a school? You may say that the school boys are only in late
teens but do not forget that there are several crimes in various cities
including murders which are committed by teenagers today”

These words raise a serious question on the safety of the
youths of the country. The concept of bullying as a crime is in its nascent
stage in India. In India there is no separate legislation to deal with bullying
at school level. Bullying is prevalent at school level in India, especially in
boarding schools. However in 2015 HRD ministry directed CBSE schools to form
anti-ragging committees at school level also putting severe punishments to
students indulging in bullying and the punishment may vary to rustication in
rarest of rare cases. There should be notice boards warning students from
involving in ragging or bullying. The Raghavan committee report recommended that
teachers and the principal shall be held liable if any act of bullying takes
place in the school premises

Similarly, UGC has laid guidelines to all the colleges across
the country to follow anti-ragging rules in their respective universities and
the universities which do not abide by such rules would be bring to task and
even UGC could forfeit their recognition. The government of India enacted
special regulation to curb bullying at higher education institutions – “UGC
Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Education Institutions,
2009”. A student may also have criminal liability under different sections of
the criminal procedure code of India. Offences of bullying, stalking,
terrorism, breach of confidentiality, etc. committed in cyberspace are like
similar offences in the real world and are punishable. Section 66A in the Information Technology
Act, 2000 deals with such crimes. Such crimes,
under the current IT/Cyber/Criminal laws in India are punishable up to three
years with a fine.

Remedies:

·        
Problem of bullying should not be
over-looked. It needs to be dealt with properly and effectively.

·        
The children should be handled
sensitively with due love and care, rather than rebuking them harshlythrough
which the problem
can be curbed in its nascent stage itself.

·        
Children need to be counselled and encouraged to
speak up and be confident enough to share their problems.

·        
Anti-bullying cell should be formed in government
and private schools and they should be effective too.

·        
Therapists, counsellors and life skill trainers
can play an effective role to provide the best and most efficient care for the
victims.

·        
Intervention programs for children, parents and
school staff members should be designed that can be helpful in dealing with the
problem of bullying.

·        
Encourage the children to make friends, help
them to improve their social skills such as effective ways of communication
etc.

·        
Effective laws should be there and dully
implemented to treat the problem of bullying.

Conclusion:Bullying
is a phenomena which often goes unnoticed and then wrecks havoc on several
lives. At a global level, bullying is often complained of but in India, this
problem as seen in this paper, the problem is often swept under the carpet. It
is high time that this problem was checkedand curbed to the maximum extent
possible. Every person has a right to live with the dignity and devoid of fear
so it becomes even more essential that children are protected and guided in a
correct way so that we have a good breed of humans for the next generation
rather than scared under confident individuals and rampant delinquents, since
prevention is better than cure. Laws need to be passed and implemented
effectively for the betterment of the society. Preventing bullying is
imperative for a better tomorrow and a healthy future of the society.

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