We should include the bullied in the conversation about bullies

You know who are the most likely victims of bullying? If you answered “the less fortunate”, the “marginalised”, the “powerless”, or the underdogs”, you answered wrong. Because these types of “victims” are no more than the traditional poster children put up by “activists” who are driven more by a political agenda than by any real empathy for real victims of bullying. The “victims” they put up are proxies for their opponents in their politics and are not representative of the types of people most likely to be bullied.

So who are the bullies’ real victims? Simple. Real victims of bullying are people who are different.

Humans are programmed by millions of years of evolution to conform to their communities. The alternative to conforming is to face expulsion which, on the African Savanna, is pretty much a death sentence. Outside the protection of the tribe, a lone human individual in the wild is no match against predators and has no chance of reproducing. Bullying seems to be the pervasive social problem that it is because it likely served a purpose back in those days on the African Savanna — to maintain a cohesive band or tribe of individuals conforming to proven collective survival strategies. As such, a behaviour that came to be at the cradle of humanity got carried forth by succeeding generations of humans that ventured out of Africa and colonised the rest of the planet. Most individuals are inclined to bully or be on the side of bullies.

A truly compelling and resonant anti-bullying advocacy, therefore, needs to start from the perspective of the bullied and, from there, build a clear understanding of why certain people attract the attention of bullies. The bullied are not necessarily enemies of bullies. Bullies don’t see their victims as a threat to them. Rather, people who attract bullies push a button in the recesses of bullies’ psyches that go back to that primal instinct on the African Savanna to keep a tribe in line and every individual marching to the same drumbeat. Perhaps, modern-day bullies are individuals who grew up in environments that still resemble those primitive communities of yore where conformity was maintained by force.

This could be the reason why bullying seems to be generally tolerated by authorities and even institutionalised, such as in fraternity hazing. Indeed, most institutions and organisations that are the most demanding of conformity in its members — fraternities, the military, secret societies, etc. — have one form of insitutionalised bullying ritual or another that go by seemingly benign terms like “initiation”, “baptism”, “rites of passage” and the like. All these seem to serve as ritualistic ingraining in the minds of neophyte members that they are about to become part of a hierarchy where they are expected to fit in.

Does all this make bullying right? Not anymore. We now live in an age where modern laws and institutional processes have taken over the rule of personalities which, in comparison, is arbitrary and inconsistent. Thus, bullying has become an illegal assertion or expression of power over another. A police officer, on the other hand, asserts power and authority over another person within prescribed rules of engaging that person. These rules are expected to be applied by all police officers to governing their actions and therefore make the channeling of power even by individuals consistent and transparent.

A modern-day bully, on the other hand, is one who is seen to be acting outside of any authorised framework for expressing power. He or she expresses power on the back of his or her own perceived ascendancy over another. The most successful of such bullies manage to build a cult following — those who watch submissively or, worse, cheer them on — that further enhances his or her ability to bully.

It is therefore no surprise that bullying continues to be a normal practice in Philippine society. This is, after all, a society of rule by people and not of laws. In such a society where the expression of power is arbitrary, bullying is an accepted survival mechanism. Indeed, it is evident now in light of recent events, that this style of thinking is already ingrained at an early age. It can also be seen in what supposedly is the Philippines’ “grown-up” politics where personalities rather than ideas and principles are what loyalties are built around.

Again, the key to finding the right solutions in this instance is to understand and squarely-confront the root causes at the systemic level. Understanding the problem of bullying under this light brings to the fore not just the bully but the nature and character of the bullied. The bullied are, for the most part, individuals who beg to differ to the established norm and, in so doing, attract derision from his or her peers and are ostracised often with the veiled consent of the very authorities supposedly tasked with protecting individual liberties, specifically an individual’s right to differ. Indeed, this likely explains why authorities are generally slow to act on bullying cases — because they themselves are accomplices (who enjoy plausible deniability) to the schoolyard bullies who serve as the small-time fall guys when the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan.

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15 Comments on “We should include the bullied in the conversation about bullies”

  1. The current Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 was created by the Yellowtard Sen. Trillanes & other LP senators & their version are very lax & not very strict due to the existence of the controversial Pangilinan Law created by another Yellowtard senator. And the end result? The Yellowtard University of Ateneo de Manila became the breeding ground of the bullies, and I’d pity about the tall boy who’d kicked by a taekwando black belter in which we’d saw that video clip on social media & news on TV. That law must be revised soon & the Pangilinan Law should be abolish as well so that the bully suspect (either a minor one or not) should be arrested & need a proper consultations & conditions to the bullies. And of course the Department of Education should also revise their policy & they should become more strict & open minded regarding on the bullying incident on schools & universities in our country, e.g.: the bully person should give some conditions as what I’d mentioned above after he/she was dismissed or suspension from the school like give him/her the mandatory consultation & therapy & he/she should report it to DepEd & the school/university where he/she was enrolled. But if he/she refused to do that or he/she failed to take therapy or followed the psychiatrist’s/family consultant’s advise, then he’ll/she’ll be automatically expelled in all of the schools/universities in our country & his/her parents will face a lawsuit as well. Giving an oral warning or writing a letter to the bully from the school’s administrators or to the DepEd are not enough to stop the bullying on school institution just like what the Ateneo de Manila did it to the bully guy: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/metro/679168/ateneo-junior-high-bully-in-viral-video-expelled/story/ It needs a tougher rule to solve the problem.

  2. Bu the way that @ORATIO IMPERATA will surely gonna bully the Filipinos out there after reading this blog just like what he’d done to 2018 Miss Universe winner, Catriona Gray. Man, he have so many “controversial” quotes he’d posted there.

    How will @benign0 gonna control it?! 😅

    1. in all fairness to mr. imperata, he is not bullying, he is criticizing.
      He has never called us names, but instead points out flaws that we can improve on. he goes on to show us what he likes and what he does not and what could work and does not.
      i know what bullying is as i have been both victim and eventually perpetrator during different times of my life. Criticism hinges on reasoning, while bullying hinges on emotion. Kind of difficult to distinguish if you grow up in the Philippines, especially if your family was patriarchal.
      but thats just me. i use his harsh words as clues on which aspect of my filipino self i can work on, and not be defensive about it. fortunately for me i am not restricted by faith and dogma, and instead dictated by critical thinking, still limited as i am restricted by cultural mindsets that i am still working hard to overcome.

    2. @mrericx … OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE NON-THINKING FILIPINO … you just don’t get it, do you? DON’T YOU KNOW 98% of brown-skin Filipinos are discriminated and bullied ?

      Get over here. Sit up straight. Hands on your desk. Eyes to the board. No talking. And listen. And Listen Good.

      “Preferring a non-Filipino citizen and a non-Filipino looking is good as REVERSE-DISCRIMINATION and BULLIED !!!”

      Yes! We picked black candidates and other minorities as Miss America because U.S.A. is a land of immigrants … PHILIPPINES IS NOT A LAND OF IMMIGRANTS …. PHILIPPINES IS A LAND OF FILIPINOS … for Filipinos … by Filipinos … you know, those brown skin kind that speaks their dialect not English.

      Why pick someone that does not represent YOUR LOOKS?

      LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE A CANDIDATE FOR MEMBERSHIP IN RAPPLER+

      1. “Why pick someone that does not represent YOUR LOOKS?”

        The decision on it is not up to you but with the people of The Philippines. Reflect on that, Imperata.

        “What should FILIPINOS look like?”

        “One day, my Korean student asked me if I can introduce a “real” Filipino to him or if I can give him a picture of it at least. I questioned him why he asked me that kind of favor. He said, he thinks most people he encountered in the Philippines look like “mixed-blood” Filipinos. Some people look like Latinos, Chinese, Japanese and even Vietnamese he said. Suddenly it comes to my mind that somehow it’s difficult to explain what kind of “specific” race we are.”

        1. OK. FILIPINOS ARE WHITE BECAUSE FILIPINOS WANTED TO BE WHITE AND PREFERRED TO BE WHITE !!!

          Happy now? So, when you come to my country with fake documents just so you get a visa to surrender to your former white colonists so your life can be run by colonists that you did not want from the very beginning I WILL DISCRIMINATE YOU JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE BROWN and your English sucks.

          I bet you’d be very very very happy.

          I FIGHT FOR BROWN SHORT FILIPINOS … BUT IT SEEMS THE FILIPINOS PREFER WHITES AS YOU SAID ….

          So, pick up those dishes throw them into the washer pour detergent select hot and press start. If you are thinking of getting promoted to sous chef forget about it because you wanted to be discriminated and I will discriminate you.

  3. If you fight back the bully; there will be no bullies. If your keep quiet, while you are bullied…bullying will continue.

    No laws against bullying can protect anybody. You can only protect yourself against the bullies. So, the best solution is : Fight back and protect yourself. Punch the bully on the nose !

    Merry Christmas, to all our GRP bloggers…Merry Christmas to our webmaster, Benigno !

    1. @343Hyden007Toro6565.32 Punch the bully on the nose? Or maybe do the bloody way by bringing guns to your school & use it in case that if someone bullied you just like in the case of US of A where American kids use it to justify the cause of bullying: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2017/11/29/heres-what-makes-bullied-teens-more-likely-to-pack-a-gun-for-school/#6b22d74b7b2d

      Oh yeah, it’s Christmas! And I forgot to greet Christmas here for all of GRP bloggers & followers, so have a Merry & Safe Christmas to all of you. 🙂

      1. mrericx:

        I am not asking anybody bullied to bring guns or weapons to kill the bully. There are many non lethal ways to deal with school bullies. If you allow the bully to have his/her ways . The bullying will continue.

        Reporting to the proper authorities, like the principals, or school authorities, may also stop the bullying. Parent must know that their children are being bullied in school also. This will solve the bullying problem…

        Merry Christmas, mrericx, and to all our GRP bloogers. Peace on Earth !

        1. It would be fun to see the chilling effects of bullies gunned down by their victims. I once stabbed a bully’s pencil to his hands. Until I graduated primary school, none of the bullies in our school would bully me again. They know I would cry, but they’re afraid to see their own blood. The only way stop the bully is to fight back and make sure the bully will not recover from the shame of becoming the bisggest loser. Nope, authorities can’t stop bullies. I already did that many times, that’s why I resorted to fighting back.

  4. If there is any consolation to this it is that Montes was able to expose: (1) what is happening inside his school, and (2) how his school admin handles cases like this. It is very frustrating that such a university, very expensive to get in and has constantly painted itself as a beacon of “righteousness”, has seemed blind, deaf, and I think almost mute to cases of bullying inside their yard. I mean, c’mon, bullying is a secret plainly seen in schoolyards! I find it hard to connect seeing the priests who runs Montes’ school rallying against the government for being a “bully” when their institution is a breeding ground for such.

    Also, with all the responses I’ve read and heard about Montes, I learned that most Filipinos truly hate bullying. However, I also realized that they don’t mind being one.

  5. The analysis comes short of one important fact: the distinction from a conscious bullying to an unconscious one.

    Conscious bullies are the most common problem. These individuals actually seek out a easy targets.

    And bullying is simply a power play.

    This is why the only solution is to fight back. YES. IT IS THE ONLY SOLUTION.

    Why? Because the one thing bullies always understand is hard targets.

  6. Bullies most of the time are driven by envy, you have that quality that he/she may never have and will hate you for that, perhaps you look “good”, pretty, handsome, tall, big, smart that even though you are innocent about your own good quality and never brags about it, there will be someone who will go to the length to hurt you just for that.

  7. THE PHILIPPINE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION is bullied by RAPPLER+RESSA …
    THE FILIPINO BRAINS ARE BULLIED BY Rappler+Ressa …
    The Justice System is bullied by Rappler+Ressa …
    The Philippine Constitution is bullied by Rappler+Ressa …

    RAPPLER+Ressa claimed to be bullied in Social Media …

    Here is the problem with Rappler+Ressa … there are too many anti-Rappler pro-Duterte out there in Social Media than pro-Ressa …. HERE IS THE QUESTION: Who has the right to scream “bullied”? Those who are out-numbered and out-gunned ?

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