Bullying conjures images for some of the schoolyard where that one kid wouldn’t leave you alone, or the mean comments in middle school bathrooms. But bullying happens to grown ups in devastating situations like Tyler Clementi’s—the gay Rutgers freshman who took his own life last year— or in more subtle daily exchanges. It can be difficult to pinpoint, but it deserves the same diligence in documentation that harassment receives.
According to the Health and Human Services’ bullying prevention website, there are common myths surrounding the profile of a bully.
“Many people who bully are popular and have average or better-than average self-esteem. They often take pride in their aggressive behavior and control over the people they bully. People who bully may be part of a group that thinks bullying is okay. Some people who bully may also have poor social skills and experience anxiety or depression. For them, bullying can be a way to gain “social status.”
Your best protection is education.
-Bullies can act alone or in groups.
– Bullying behavior can exist at any level of an organization.
-Bullies can be superiors, subordinates, co-workers and classmates.
In Pepperdine’s journal of business, workplace bullying is further explored.
While bullies can seem competent and may be charismatic, in reality they are “engaging in vicious and fabricated character assassination, petty humiliations and small interferences, any one of which might be insignificant in itself, but taken together over a period of time, poison the working environment for the targeted individuals.”
If you are a victim of bullying or you need help determining if the behavior in your work place or classroom constitutes bullying, contact the Student Life department. Central Oregon Community College offers free counseling to students.
As we become well informed as to what our rights are, we can speak up for ourselves. That has always been a model for social change.
You should not have to endure the adult version of the schoolyard bully.
Kirsteen Wolf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of Student Life: 541-383-7590