With bullying, you’re facing basically the same problem you have when it comes to rape culture. Everyone flaps their gums about how bad rape is, but when the rubber hits the road, a whole bunch of people side with rapists against rape victims. With this incident, you even see the same logic that rape and domestic violence victims often hear, that speaking out against abuse somehow deprives their assailant of his privacy.
Beyond that, the problem with bullying is that adults look the other way for exactly the same reasons kids do: They don’t like the victim, they find the whole process amusing or even what the victim deserves, they think the victim is whiny, etc. As long as adults feel this way, bullies will feel free to do their thing, safe in the knowledge that the adults are on their side. To fix bullying, we need to shift some of the efforts away from sending a “message” to kids that bullying is bad and start really tackling the culture of the adults who tolerate or even encourage it.
When I was in school, the teachers not only bullied me themselves, but directly encouraged violent bullying of me by the other kids. They’d mock and humiliate me in front of the whole class, sending the clear message: it’s open season on this one. When kids hit me, no one got punished. Even in a different school, before I was the teachers’ main target, the principal would say “boys will be boys” about boys punching, kicking me, stealing my stuff, and publicly disrobing me in an attempt to sexually humiliate me. Later on, I actually wondered if the adults had told the bullies in confidence to go get me. I suspect a school counselor may have betrayed my confidence, as a bully knew something I’d only told the counselor.
I seem to have come out of the experience with a different outlook than most kids that have been bullied. In some strange way, I never felt my quarrel was with the kids. They were young, dumb, and impressionable. I knew it was the adults who set them up to be cruel to me. All my fear and resentment was reserved for the adults and the way they abused their power.(via aiffe)