Falsehoods and truths
Falsehoods and truths
Here are a few scenarios to help you better understand what bullying is all about:

• If my friends always use a nickname when they speak to me, it’s bullying.

TRUE: It’s direct verbal bullying if the nickname causes you distress because you feel hurt or humiliated, or fear that it will permanently ruin your reputation. 
FALSE: It’s not bullying if the nickname is intended to tease you and make you laugh, instead of hurt, alienate, or dominate you.

• If someone told my friends not to hang out with me or sit next to me for a week, it’s bullying.

: It’s social bullying if this repetitive, exclusionary behaviour hurts, alienates or distresses you.

• If my friends tell lies about me behind my back that damage my reputation, it’s bullying.

: It’s indirect verbal bullying because the lies are harmful to your reputation and, as such, are hurtful to you and exclude you from the group.

• If I have a fight with someone because I think they’ve butted in front of me in the cafeteria line, I’m a victim of bullying.

: This is not bullying. It’s a misunderstanding or an argument between two people.

• It’s bullying if my friends post a compromising photograph of me on the Web with a caption like “fag” or “lesbian.”  Since then, I’ve lost a lot of friends and I don’t want to go to school anymore.

: This is cyber-bullying because this behaviour causes you a great deal of distress. You’re hurt, alienated and you feel anxious to the point of fearing reprisals if you go to school.

• It’s bullying if I call my friend names on the Internet and say I’d like to hurt her physycally because I saw them flirting with my ex! I have reason to be angry because you just don’t do that, and they should understand that.

: This is cyber-bullying because what you’re saying is violent and includes a death threat. The police take these things very seriously and could arrest you for such threats. And your friend is no doubt very hurt by your disparaging comments and threats. There’s nothing better than talking things out to resolve a conflict. You may have thought she was flirting, but perhaps that wasn’t the case.

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