Ignoring Bullies is Bullshit, and Why

This is my comment I left on Skepchick after the article about the Michigan anti-bullying fuckery.

Of course, I edited it a bit, but it pissed me off enough to repost it here:

I am so incredibly sick of hearing the tired old chestnuts of “just ignore it/let it go/punch them in the face and they’ll stop” when it comes to kids being bullied.

First of all, it presumes entirely too much about the situation in question.  If it’s a light/low level “hurhur yer momma dresses you funny” bully, yeah, maybe a kid could say “whatever” and keep on trucking, but it’s a completely different ball game when several kids are giving you shit each and every day because of something about you that you can’t change. That shit is hard, especially as a kid when you’re just learning about how to deal with the world. It’s far too easy to look back in hindsight with our adult minds and just go “well, why don’t you ignore it?”

Also, and I’m going against the advice of my own mother when I was little,  fighting a bully isn’t always the solution. This isn’t a movie or “special episode” of a sitcom where the skinny little geek gets a lucky punch in and the bully doesn’t glance at them anymore. Fights are dirty and can be fatal or with permanent damage to either combatant, and nothing good comes out of any possible grudges if the bullied gets lucky. What would we say if the bully comes after this kid again with friends? What do we say if the bully comes after this kid with a weapon?

It’s leaving kids out to dry, especially since we has adults have better ways to deal with this stuff in our own lives. If someone calls me a “nappy headed n**gger” at my job, I can file a complaint. If it’s a reoccurring thing, I can see them fired or file a hefty lawsuit. Why wouldn’t I have a similar option if I were 14 and a schoolmate called me such?

If someone is harassing me at work, in my home, on the street, I have recourse. I can call the cops, I can file a complaint at work (it might not stop the idiot, but it’s SOMETHING). If someone actually assaults me, I have the same recourse. We need to either apply the laws we’ve already got against assault and harassment between kids, or support better laws – which this one sure isn’t and I really wish the family could get their poor son’s name off it.

(And another thing, while my heart goes out to bullies who are just lashing out because of their own abuse or bullying or whatever, telling their victim to just “ignore it” isn’t getting them any help either)

Ignoring Bullies is Bullshit, and Why
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3 thoughts on “Ignoring Bullies is Bullshit, and Why

  1. 1

    I agree with your post, except for the last part.

    Anyone who’s victimized in one area of their life should bloody well know better than to victimize someone else in another area of their lives.

    1. 1.1

      I’m willing to give a kid bully a benefit of the doubt due to their age that they need to be shown that what they’re doing is wrong, while of course the safety of the bullied ought to be top priority. Empathy, sadly, isn’t always a inborn virtue.

  2. 2

    My mother told me for years that if I didn’t react, the bullies would go away. I didn’t, most of the time, but they didn’t. I still carry the emotional scars, because eventually what I learned was to stop telling her because she wouldn’t help.

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