Bullying Can't Always Be Reported

I just got a call from someone regarding an anonymous bullying reporting outlet for kids/teens. I’ll check it out and let you know. If it looks good, I’ll be promoting it.

But …

Did you know, that even if there’s an anonymous way of reporting bullying, dangerous bullies can often still find out who the “rat” is and target them. How do they do this? By elimination.

Once bullies have been caught out by someone in authority and they know they can’t manipulate their way around it, they’ll take their punishment and the authority figure/s will assume that’s the end of that. They’ll still be keeping an eye on the situation, but they often believe that once caught, the problem is gone.

But, for serious/dangerous bullies, that’s not the case. They’ll just get sneakier and better at covering their tracks. Revenge is now their driving force and they’ll start eliminating suspects. Most kids/teens will talk when threatened and the one who reported the bullying has often confided in someone, making them more at risk of being caught.

Serious bullies do not deal well with accountability. He/she blames the victim and rat(s) for having been punished. That self-centered mindset is what enables them to bully in the first place with little or no guilt.

Once caught, the “rat” will be exposed and suffer bullying based on not just insecurities (as most bullying is), but bullying based on anger and revenge, which is usually even worse than the initial bullying that was reported.

Why am I writing such a dire article? Just as a warning that if you have a son/daughter who is going to report a dangerous bully, make darn sure they don’t tell their friends, making them potential targets that could crack under pressure from the bully.

This is one of the toughest subjects I teach as each case is so individual. When I coach teens about how to proceed to tell on a bully, they’re often in tears and terrified. I have even suggested to some that they don’t tell as I worry about their welfare. Then I can’t even go to the principal or police as it could potentially leave a trail leading back to them as often only a few individuals even know about a bullying incident.

I never recommend bystanders tell if it’s going to potentially risk their safety. But, if I can get a large group of kids to tell together, then I certainly recommend that as there is power in numbers. That has to be done out in the open or else there are still going to be targets singled out.

I know all this as I worked with bullies, I know how they operate. I could stop the cycle as I was dealing with the bully … that’s easy. It’s dealing with the victims that’s difficult as you can only stop a problem at the source: the bully.

Lisa Bunnage

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