The familiar saying — yes, the cliche one aboue sticks and stones — brings back childhood memories of teasing and shoving in the elementary school playground. While not everyone has experienced bullying firsthand, we’ve all encountered it at some point throughout our K-12 school years.
Bullying has evolved over time. Stealing lunch money has no place in today’s world of Venmo and Cash App. As we grow and mature into adults during our time in college, is bullying no longer a part of our lives?
According to stopbullying.gov, bullying can be defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”
There are three different types of bullying: verbal, social, and physical. Verbal bullying involves teasing, taunting, and threatening. Social bullying has the intention of hurting someone’s reputation, somewhat similar to Taylor Swift and Katy Perry’s infamous four-year feud. Types of physical violence includes punching, kicking, and slapping, like when JWoww smacked The Situation across the head after being thrown out of the club. There are many different variations and combinations of these three types of bullying present today.
The key element of bullying is it is repeated over time. Making snippy comments towards your friends on an off day is just mean. While being snippy to them every day would be considered bullying.
The way we experience bullying may be different compared to past strategies. Being bullied in person is becoming more and more rare these days. Being “fake” provides a cloak of niceties to mask the ill wishes we tend to feel towards others.
Instead of being bullied in the playground, we’re being bullied on the internet. Social media like Twitter and Instagram are the new sandboxes and monkey bars.
On a college level, bullying can take form in cyberbullying and slut shaming. Sometimes, we don’t realize we’re the bullies ourselves. Labeling groups of people to be promiscuous or unworthy based solely on what organizations they choose to take part in brings negativity into an otherwise safe space.
Bullying can also take form in sexual harassment among college students. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says one in five women will face sexual harassment while in college.
And although less discussed, one in 16 men who will face sexual harassment.
Hazing, whether it be verbal and/or physical, is a major form of bullying in college. Although the exact whereabouts of hazing are typically kept secret, rumors spread. Hazing has proven to be an extremely dangerous practice, with multiple students on college campuses dying from it. No matter how hilarious it may seem to some, losing the lives of students over the sake of “brotherhood/sisterhood” is never funny.
To help stop the cycle of bullying in college campuses, students need to remember how judgement feels when it’s placed on themselves. Everyone’s going through something, and bullying can only make it worse. We’re all here to learn, better ourselves and have fun in the process. College should be a place where people feel free to experiment with their personality and figure themselves out, not a place where we all morph into the same type of person because we’re afraid of being different.
So keep on keeping on, and remember what side of a statistic you want to be on.
Amanda Martinez is a senior telecommunication major. Her columns appear on Tuesdays.