How is this news?


Bullying is one of those things that we treat as far less serious than it is. Many people see it as a rite of passage (which in other contexts would be considered hazing), as something that builds character, as an innate and fairly harmless part of childhood. But lets take the ways that a child is bullied and place them into an adult context, and the words used would no longer sound so harmless.

Harassment. Abuse. Assault.

Bullying is something that gets treated much differently when it happens among adults than among children (although still often not as seriously as it should be) and adults enjoy a lot of benefits that children don’t in dealing with it. They have more power to remove themselves from the situation. They have already formed an identity. They’re more emotionally mature. A child’s ability to remove themselves from a situation rests on hir ability to convince others to help. Hir identity is still forming and is more vulnerable to the messages of worthlessness. Ze lacks the emotional development to handle things well.

So why do we tell adults they don’t have to deal with this crap, and children get told to suck it up?

We knows the effects of abuse in adults, and it often takes years to recover. Why would we expect different when it occurs in childhood? While I think this sort of study is worth doing, this shouldn’t be novel enough to be newsworthy. That it is says a lot about how we deal with this issue as a culture.


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