There is an erroneous belief that bullying stops after high school, and unfortunately, there is little research to support whether bullying is actually happening on college campuses. OR SO I THOUGHT. The next year, my group of ‘friends’ started obsessing over boys. My ‘best friend’ Teneille, had a MAJOR crush on this boy who one day asked me out. When Teneille backstabbed me to hang out with Isabelle and Jess to get revenge, all the girls followed. Except for one. Cassidy. I was very afraid because I knew that the bigger the group. The worse the bullying could get. I received hate mail in class, I got glares, I was made fun of for my clothes. I was imitated, I was gossiped about. Goodness, I even had girls taking pictures of me in class to post online to have them all go on and call me names.
I was suicidal and started to self-harm regularly. I hid a razor blade in my room and spent my days after school listening to angry music, writing angry and depressing thoughts in my journal, and cutting my arms. One time, I wanted more than anything to die that night, so I cut deeper than usual until I passed out from the pain. I was really disappointed when I woke up still alive and had to go back to that den of abuse. Only one person in the world knew why I was wearing long sleeves even though it was 60 degrees.
Although the terms and meanings of bullying may vary slightly across cultures, 6 the definitions of bullying adopted in previous research usually include 3 core elements as coined by Dan Olweus: repeated hurtful actions occurring between individuals of the same age group and with a power imbalance. 7 , 8 The roles of bullying can be classified into bullies and victims. 9 As for types of bullying, 4 distinct categories 10 are commonly used: (1) physical: bullying through physical contact (eg, hitting, kicking, or shoving around); (2) verbal: bullying via verbal expressions (eg, teasing in a hurtful way, calling mean names about appearance or social status); (3) relational: bullying through social means (eg, socially excluding others, or spreading rumors); and (4) cyber: bullying through electronic channels (eg, sending hurtful messages or pictures via the Internet or cell phones). 10 Although these categories are mutually exclusive, various types of bullying can occur simultaneously.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. For most of us, the term bullying” likely conjures images of pre-pubescent boys pushing each other on the playground or teenaged mean girls” spreading hateful rumors in the hallways. And while most of the fanfare this month is focused on primary and secondary schools and their students, bullying remains an issue of concern among college students as well. We don’t typically use the term bullying” when referring to these behaviors as they occur between those over the age of 18, but whether we’re talking about harassment, hazing, intimidation, stalking or other manifestations of interpersonal harm, the consequences on a college campus can be quite significant.
College was the first time I received letters addressing me as “U” (the formal “you” in Dutch). Even with financial assistance from both my parents and the Dutch government, and university-provided housing, I had to manage my own finances, and if I forgot to pay a bill, it was me who got a letter “in the name of the Queen”, not my parents. It was me who had to go find a doctor when I got sick. All of those things told me that I was now in a fundamentally different social category from before, and I’d better start acting like it.