April 03, 2018

How to take a stand against bullying

By Nana Zuke

Bullying is a form of abuse that takes different forms and most times its victims are afraid to tell someone about it because of fear of being victimised further. However bullying is abuse and this type of behaviour is not acceptable at any given point. Bullying is when an individual enforces unwanted aggressive power over you.

Shakira Mahabeer, Student Councillor at ICESA Durban campus said bullying can leave lifelong psychological scars for victims. When students are bullied at campus, they often do not speak up because they fear they’ll be embarrassed.  Counselling provides the student with skills to deal with the issue and to prevent it from happening again.

Bullying can also come as a form of harassment, whether it is emotional, verbal or physical harassment. Whenever an individual makes you feel lessor or inferior, in a campus environment that is bullying.  When someone adopts a habit of picking on you without considering your feelings and with total disregard for what your boundaries are, that is bullying.

When they speak words that hurt your feelings and you let them know how uncomfortable you feel about their behaviour and they continue with total disregard of your feelings then you might be in a situation where you are being emotionally bullied. Note that not all bullies are the ones who punch you, but some of the worst bullies are those who speak words that sting thus breaking your spirit.

Another form of bullying and probably the most common is physical bullying. Where an individual will assault you physically without cause, just because they don’t particularly like you or agree with your views. These types of bullies take pleasure in assaulting you in front of other people. This helps them to demonstrate how much power, strength and hold they have over you. 

“When a student who is a victim of bullying attends counselling at ICESA, he/she will be taught coping skills such as boundary setting, assertive communication, improving one’s self-esteem and coping with fears. Some of the ways students can deal with bullying is by ignoring the bully, show that you are brave, do not walk alone and most important is to report the matter to someone. Students are also offered the option of group therapy where they can share their experiences with others and know that they are not the only ones facing this situation. Not only are the victims counselled but also the bully himself,” said Shakira.

What to do when you are a victim of bullying on campus

Bullying is one of the many contributors to depression. Students deal with so much stress and pressure academically and socially, abuse of any sort should not be tolerated. Should you ever be in a position where you are being victimised in any way, report it and talk to someone. The most dangerous thing about being bullied is the emotional damage it has on the victims and most of the time they don’t even know the emotional toll it takes on them

Find a staff member that you trust and tell them what has been happening to you and who the perpetrators are. Staff members know how to deal with these situations and will likely refer you to someone who can assist or sort it out themselves. If you have physical evidence of the bullying, this will make your case or complaint easier as you won’t have to prove that what you are saying is the truth. 

“Bullying leaves victims feeling isolated and miserable which in turn negatively affects one’s academic performance. If bullying is identified as a common problem at ICESA, in terms of counselling, a bullying intervention programme will be implemented at the campus in the form of educational talks/discussions with students. Parents and guardians are called in and rules will be enforced to address such behaviour. If left unresolved, bullying can result in victims dropping out of campus or suicide,” said Shakira.


Speak to a professional about it, often times the trauma you go through can cause emotional and psychological imbalance and might even make you angry and aggressive. Talking to someone helps you to deal with your emotions head-on. Talking also heals, the more you talk about something that hurts you, the less it bothers you, and that’s when the healing process really begins.


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