The Invisible Bullying

By Donny Winter
© Diversity Rules Magazine 2012.  All Rights Reserved.

donny_winterIt doesn’t matter how strong a person is, or how well they can deal with aggressive people because everyone has faced bullying at one point or another in their lives to different degrees. Amidst all the news of bullies either attacking victims with words or physical abuse we all do not seem to consider whether or not inaction is a form of bullying or not. By inaction I’m referring to people either using passive-aggressive forms of bullying such as obvious disdainful expressions or even ignoring the victim completely in an attempt to make them feel as though they don’t exist.

I’m sure most people are going to respond to this idea with the statement of, “Well that means anything could be interpreted as bullying then.” While that may seem like the indication, deliberate inaction or ignoring is intentional. If one observes a school setting (regardless which level) it’s easy to spot the students who are ignored or avoided by the more popular students seeking a good reputation with other popular students. To use an example, when I was in high school a lot of people wouldn’t sit with me in the lunch room because they assumed my sexual orientation before I was even out. I would either get weird looks thrown at me, gestures from others from across the room and even food thrown at me from time to time. There were moments I’d talk to people and they’d just look at me for a second and just walk away. While this may seem like menial student interaction lets carefully examine what happens in a situation such as this because experiences like these stay with a person.

Middle and high school are pretty important phases in a child’s life. Social interaction and building relationships helps them prepare for not only the workforce but developing meaningful interactions in adulthood. If the child is ignored, how are they supposed to feel like they’re welcome in any part of society if not their own teenage niche? LGBT children as well as countless other groups face this dismissed bullying more frequently than actual face-to-face bullying. If we deliberately ignore a person or shut them out are we not responsible for making them feel ostracized?

My previous article discussed how words can be used as medicine instead of a self-esteem killer. But doesn’t it make sense that the lack of words could be interpreted as a damaging form of bullying? It depends on how lack of social-contact and obvious passive-aggressive treatment impacts a person.

Everyone wants to feel included and welcome in society — it’s just another means of feeling a sense of equality, a treasure that we all deserve.

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