Bullying may have different meanings to different people, but all of these have the same thought: someone in power purposely behaves aggressively toward or intimidates a weaker person.
This often happens during elementary times, but not many of us see it being present at the college level.
Bullying in college?
In an article called “College Students Still Vulnerable to Bullying” from the U.S. News & World Report Health website, a study conducted by the Indiana State University in 2011 showed that 15 percent of all college students reported being bullied.
Bullying at this level usually happens between the victim and his or her peers or classmates.
Spreading rumors against the victim is one of the most evident ways. It is often expressed through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The frequency and seemingly “normal” feeling of college-level bullying create a notion that it is “okay” to bully. Nevertheless, it creates a lot of negative effects especially to the victims, including the feelings of hurt, shame and fear.
Cases of bullying
In Ateneo de Davao University, there are indeed cases of bullying in the college level.
“Yes, I’ve been bullied,” said a Biology student who wished to be unnamed.
He was teased because of his hair and felt embarrassed since his bullies say it out loud.
“Of course I was hurt. It was like I was removed from the face of the earth,” he added.
When asked how it affected his confidence, he answered, “Nawawala na ‘yung kumpyansa ko.” He added that he feels afraid whenever he sees his bullies.
Not only that, the fear of fighting back was also present.
“Kanang gusto pud ka musukol pero wala ka nang magawa,” he remarked.
In another case, Paula, a student from the University of Mindanao experienced verbal and social bullying during her first year days.
Her bullies would underestimate her intelligence.
She said “Sometimes, I would go the other way when I see them, just not to be with them anymore.”
But Paula was then mature enough to be humble, and not let them see she was hurt.
“Pag magpa-apekto ko sa mga bully, samutan hinuon ko nila og tira,” she said. “I asked for advice from my friend [who is] a psychology student on what to do when this happens. Mawad-an man gud ko’g confidence usahay bantog nagapa-counsel ko informally,” she added.
The bullied become the bullies
Bullying not only leads to lowered self-esteems to its victims, it might lead to another effect – the bullied become the bullies too.
In an article from bullyingstatistics.org entitled “Why Do People Bully?” victims of bullying themselves are more likely to “pass on” social rejection they had to others.
One may become a bully because of the people at home or in school. It may be their parents, siblings, relatives or peers who abused them. This leaves a scar in their being.
The places that are perceived to be safe havens may not be safe at all.
How to stop this?
Living in this diverse world is hard when openness to others is being excluded. Conflicts might arise and break relationship bonds.
These true stories are now being revealed to people proving that bullying is not only rampant in lower levels of education but also in higher education.
Society plays a big role in stopping bullying. Efforts are present such as universities and colleges providing services for the victims of bullying, and organizations trying to draw the line, but they are not enough.
In one hand, the most effective way is stopping bullying from where it could have started – at home. Through open conversations with the family, this would help each family member understand another. Conversations among close peers and even help from the Guidance Center are also valuable.
On the other hand, having self-awareness is also an effective measure. Through knowing oneself – one’s strengths, weaknesses and rights, one cannot allow bullies to take advantage of him or her. There will be no bullies if no one allows to be bullied.