This November 20th is International STAND UP to Bullying Day, a semi-annual awareness event which encourages both adults and children to take a stand against bullying in workplaces and schools. Bullying refers to situations in which unwanted aggressive behavior is continually used by someone with either a real or perceived power imbalance to intimidate another person.

STAND UP to Bullying Day, which takes place each February and November, asks participants to sign a pledge promising to take a public, visible stance against bullying. In recognition of their pledge, a pink t-shirt is worn to indicate their dedication to stopping bullying behaviors. Doing so helps make advocates more visible to those in need, and may help victims of bullying to find a support system for resolving crises in their school or workplace.

Bullying can cause significant emotional distress, and in cases of assault, hazing, and harassment, may be illegal. Some victims of bullying may be at risk of physical harm.

Bullying: Key Statistics

  • Approximately 20% of 12-18 year old students nationwide report having experienced bullying; attributes perceived as common in bullies included social influence, physical dominance, and higher income
  • 19% of high school students have reported experiences with bullying on school property within one year of being surveyed
  • Only 46% of 12-18 year old students who experienced bullying at school notified an adult
  • 15% of students ages 12-18 report experiencing cyberbullying, which refers to bullying and intimidation which takes place in online spaces or via text
  • Across the globe, approximately 1/3 of children experience bullying, though the degree of prevalence varies by country

Identifying Bullying Behaviors

  • Verbal bullying: Threatening, teasing, taunting, using cruel names, or making unwanted sexual remarks
  • Physical bullying: Pushing, tripping, hitting, pinching, kicking, spitting; stealing or damaging property and using impolite hand gestures also qualifies
  • Social bullying: Deliberate exclusion or embarrassment, spreading rumors/falsehoods

Bullying can have lasting effects for everyone involved. This means that victims, bullies, and those who witness bullying behaviors are all at risk of negative behavioral changes which may have a serious long-term impact.

Victims of bullying have a greater likelihood of experiencing depression and anxiety, changes in sleeping and eating habits, and loss of pleasure. These feelings may continue into adulthood if action is not taken. They may have more health complaints than average. They are also at risk of a a drop in grades and test scores, and are more prone than others to have repeat absences or drop out of school entirely.

Bullying behavior that remains unchecked in children and teens is a serious risk factor for future criminal behavior, including fighting, vandalism, and partner abuse. Those who witness the behavior are more likely to use alcohol, drugs, or tobacco to cope, experience depression and anxiety, or have chronic absences from school.

If you or someone you love is being bullied, get help now.

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