Have you ever wonder if certain social phenomena such as bullying will ever stop? I’m afraid not. So… what is bullying? This is how a dictionary would define it: “the use of strength or power to frighten or hurt weaker people.” Which brings me to another question: “What’s the difference between bullying and harassment?” Here’s what I found about harassment: “the act of annoying or worrying somebody by putting pressure on them or saying or doing unpleasant things to them.”
They both sound pretty similar to me. Well, I have this theory: bullying is to kids what harassment is to adults. Sometimes, harassment seems to me like a more sophisticated version of bullying. Why? Violence among kids is not taken as seriously as among adults. Unfortunately, bullying is still a very silent phenomenon among the younger crowd and very seldom we hear bullies being held accountable for their vicious actions. However, things are different in the adult world: “If you hit me, I’ll sue you!” Having said that, “bullies” switch from using physical force to other forms of intimidation — harassment. As I see it, the phenomenon never really stops, the environment where it takes place might change though — “same sh*t, different toilet”.
Let’s talk about harassment in the “adult world”. As I said before, this form of intimidation is more “sophisticated” than your average physical intimidation. It’s subtle, but not subtle enough to go unnoticed. Chances are that we’ve all been targets of harassment at some one point in our lives. Has your boss ever tried to initiate a conversation with inappropriate jokes of sexual nature? That’s sexual harassment. Has anyone ever made mean or ignorant comments about your ethnic background? That’s racial harassment. Has anyone ever made fun of something personal, like your weight? That’s personal harassment. And the list goes on… The only positive thing about harassment is that it doesn’t discriminate, it can happen whether you’re a female or male.
If bullying/harassment is a never ending phenomenon, what can one do? The animal kingdom usually offers two options: flight or fight. Which one will you choose? No one likes being bullied or harassed, but without a doubt these unpleasant experiences defines one’s character. It’s almost like a rite of passage, barbaric indeed but sometimes necessary. My advice to anyone that is suffering from any type of intimidation: no one will stand up for you, but yourself. Therefore, “embrace” these unpleasant experiences and try to see them as an opportunity to be assertive and build some character — “life wasn’t meant to be easy”.