MYTH: Verbal and physical abuse is nothing more than a simple bullying incident.
When we place ongoing verbal abuse and even physical abuse under the classification of bullying, we allow for increased victimization within our society. Many people fail to look at bullying as a violation of existing legal statutes. Many of the incidents we pass off as bullying are, in fact, against the law. When these instances occur and are not addressed, we give people a license to continue their negative, anti-social and possibly illegal behavior.
MYTH: Ignore bullying and believe it will go away.
This social problem, without intervention, is unlikely to heal itself. Individual bullies, not unlike nations that exhibit bullying behavior on a global scale, exist on power and they are not very quick to give that away. Believing that ignoring their actions hoping they will stop is usually not advised. In most cases, we urge immediate response and action.
MYTH: Encourage the victim to stand up and fight back.
Physical engagement of a bully is not advised. This may have been the reaction of choice for past generation but it carries a much greater risk today as the weapons and the potential for retaliation have changed. We also recommend that bystanders protest verbally when possible but not enter a physical bullying situation — rather, call for help, recruit support from others and verbally protest the abuse.
Bobby Kipper and Bud Ramey have co-authored two books and numerous articles on the crisis in youth violence plaguing our culture, addressing “best practices” for making a difference in the gang crisis and bullying epidemic that is impacting an entire generation. Over 4,400 young people committed suicide last year, largely due to the bullying epidemic. Their books, No BULLIES : Solutions for Saving Our Children from Today’s Bully and No COLORS : 100 Ways to Stop Gangs from Taking Away Our Communities, offer advocacy for at-risk youth.
Bobby Kipper, Director and Founder of the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence, is a career law enforcement officer with extensive experience in the area of preventing youth and community violence nationwide. His background includes working on a number of key national initiatives with the White House, Congress, and the Department of Justice.
Bud Ramey is the 2010 Public Affairs Silver Anvil Award winner of the Public Relations Society of America—the highest public affairs recognition in the world. His grassroots public affairs and humanitarian successes and advocacy for at-risk youth stretch across three decades.