Dealing with Bullies

Many of you may have celebrated all things Irish last Friday the 17th March, but did you also know that it marked the seventh National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence in Australia?

Bullying has three main features:

I think sometimes it seems easier to understand the first two parts of bullying rather than the different types of behaviours that can cause harm. These can be social, verbal or physical and you might consider some of these as more serious? But all forms of bullying can have a lasting effect on those involved and because we are all different it is impossible to tell what the effect may be on someone.

Politics both here and overseas have been increasingly causing me to question what acceptable behaviour is and whether we need to be more mindful of social and verbal behaviours. Seeing some of the statements from world leaders about acceptable behaviour definitely ticks the boxes of those features of bullying! But what about here at University? As a student I remember a few times when a member of academic staff had a reputation for behaving inappropriately towards students and at times it can seem like we can’t do anything about such behaviour, especially when it is sitting just below the surface.

Scilla Elworthy explores how to deal with a bully without becoming a thug in return. She outlines that in order to deal with bullying we need to understand our values and be able to reflect on how we can manage our fear and anger in relation to these values. She asks you to treat the fear like a child, what does the fear need to feel better, stronger? Scilla also reminds us that the anger we feel can be powerful, rather than getting angry with people and wasting that power using it to make positive changes.

Now might be the time to stop and give pause to what you can manage in relation the world around you, what you can do when you see behaviours that cause harm and what you can do in response to bullying. Practicing skills of self-reflection and being in touch with your values can be the first step in developing your confidence to be assertive. Our tip sheet on this also has some great ideas and suggestions to help you feeling more confident in standing up to bullies

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