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Guilty – 7 Instances Of Everyday Bullying We May Have All Ignored

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By Anshul Tewari:

Many of you reading this post have, at some time or the other, been witness to bullying; either yourselves or around you. Some perhaps, have also been bullies themselves — consciously or unconsciously.

Bullying is widespread and heavily under-addressed in India, and has led to an array of social and psychological problems. In a study by Fortis National Mental Health programme in 300 Delhi schools, 60% students said that they have witnessed bullying, while 96 % claimed that this kind of abuse is of grave concern in educational establishments.

Fact is, bullying happens all around us and yet we almost never do anything about it. Here are 7 instances of everyday bullying that we may all be guilty of having ignored.

1. When we saw someone name-calling and teasing others, or did it ourselves:

How many times have you seen someone taunt another with names like “mota” “moti” “chinki” “naata” or one such derogatory nickname just because they did not “fit in” or just for cheap thrills? This seemingly innocent fun can have deep psychological effects on an individual. Studies prove that instances of bullying threaten the physical and psychological safety of school-going children year after year.

Just in September this year, TOI reported the case of Pinky (14), a student of Class IX who was subject to constant teasing by a classmate, Bharat. She took the matter forward, complained to her teacher and Principal, but neither paid any heed. She was later found hanging from the ceiling in her room. In the suicide note, she held the teacher and the school administration responsible. (Source)

2. When you discriminate someone from a minority community, caste, different region say, north-east or south India:

nido

Racism is a major but under-reported problem in India. Apart from name-calling another major problem is the act of prejudice against people based on their looks, identity and where they geographically come from. In January this year, a youth from Arunachal Pradesh was beaten to death in New Delhi, following an altercation sparked by as the shopkeepers’ comments on his hair and looks. People from the North East are routinely subjected to teases and taunts on their facial appearance or the clothes they wear. This kind of bullying is in direct violation of our constitutional law and only builds anger, resentment and a sense of alienation in victims.(Source)

3. When you shamed or nastily taunted someone on the internet:

A recent study by Microsoft says that India has the dubious distinction of ranking third in the list of countries with the highest rate of cyber-bullying, with over 53% teens having been bullied online at some point. As we all know, the internet is also actively used for trolling i.e. hurling abuses, name calling or even active threats to someone’s life or dignity, which is often directed at women online. Tamil actress, Chinmayi Sripada received a lot of abusive tweets from Tamil users of the social networking platform and when she objected, she was accused of being prejudiced towards anyone who tweeted to her in Tamil.

Sexual objectification is another frequent kind of cyber-bullying, with the most recent case of Times of India, where we all witnessed how the newspaper victim blamed actress Deepika Padukone when they decided to glorify her cleavage in a shameful front page spread. (Source)

4. When you teased or taunted someone just because you were physically stronger:

In a recent case last September, 11 year old Oindrilla Das suffered severe trauma that led to her death, after a group of seniors locked her inside a toilet after school hours.(Source)

When at a young age, students bully others and get away with it; they end up believing that bullying is OK and that it is a part and parcel of growing up. Same is the case with those who get bullied and end up believing that it was because of their inabilities that they got bullied.

5. When you or someone you knew ostracized a mate from ‘the group’, or spread rumours about them:


http://i.imgur.com/ctJlNA7.gifv
Remember that time when you and your friends ostracized someone from your group just because they were different, or because they made choices you did not agree with? Well, let me break it to you, you were bullying that person.This form of bullying, also known as relational aggression often goes unnoticed.Sometimes referred to as emotional bullying, it is a type of social manipulation where children or even adults try to hurt their peers or sabotage their social standing. (Source)

6. Remember that sexual bully?

Sexual bullying is not just about sexual assault, but also includes sexual name-calling, crude comments, vulgar gestures, uninvited touching, sexual propositioning and even commenting on someone’s appearance, attractiveness, sexual development or sexual activity. In extreme cases, it is also about sexual assault.

Even if you may not have directly commented on someone’s appearance, sexual development or activity, but as children we’ve all known someone that definitely did! He or she in fact, probably continues to, because they did not receive the right intervention at the right time.

7. All those times you decided to stay mum while someone was bullied:

As harsh as it may sound, the fact of the matter is that all those times you decided to stay quiet when you saw bullying happen around you, you encouraged a culture of human rights violation. What’s worse, you may have proved that it’s OK for the bully to get away with it. People who are bullied suffer from severe mental trauma and find it extremely difficult to overcome the incidents that took place. In many cases, victims of bullying also take their own lives.

What we often fail to realize is that bullying is a serious human right abuse and this can only be realized by children when human rights education is embedded as a part of their curriculum.

A human rights education based approach in schools can be the first and a very important step to help foster respect, equality and ultimately, healthier friendships between children. In 2012, Amnesty International India initiated a Human Rights Education programme to support schools to integrate human rights education into their daily school life. Cases of human rights abuses in the form of bullying are found to occur in many schools and in order to bring an end to these, it is very important to bring together all stakeholders and address the issue in a more organized and cognizant manner.

Visit www.rights4edu.org for more information on how the Human Rights Education programme works on issues of bullying and other human rights education issues. Take a stand against bullying today!

You must be to comment.
  1. Babar

    Bullying is a very serious issue, and while boys bully physically, girls have a very nasty way of inflicting pain in the form of taunts. Films like ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Cyberbully’ provide insight in this grave issue. The suicide of Megan Meier was shocking in particular, as has been the deaths of many who could not handle being victimized brutally. Cyberbullying has become very common these days, as girls people like to harass, humiliate, post vicious text messages, derogatory photoshopped images, indulge in identity theft, and a number of other things which lead other people into depression and ultimately suicide.

  2. Surabhi Singh

    I am glad I have stood up to all forms of bullying all my life.. but reading the above instances makes me realise there is still a lot I need to do, before I can call myself an upright citizen.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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