When I was younger, once a year my primary school would have us dress in blue, and stand up for anti-bullying. Anti-bullying week was filled with leaflets; but not much was actually done. And, I won’t lie, I wouldn’t have known it was still running had the Snapchat filter I happened to flick to asked, ‘Do I look weak?’
Anti-Bullying Week, a national event organised by the Anti- Bullying Alliance, took place last week from 13 to 17 November. But UEA, and most universities across the country, remained quiet, leaving the events to take place in schools. Why?
According to The Student Room (TSR), from a 2017 survey over three quarters (76 percent) of students have been bullied, and out of these, a whopping 26 percent of students have had suicidal thoughts due to bullying. Whilst many believe that bullying is something strictly confined to the playgrounds with hopscotches, this is highly untrue. According to the Trade Unions Congress (TUC), in 2015, 29 percent – that’s around a third – of all adults have been bullied in the workplace. Are we, as university students, meant to believe that bullying skips us out? Goes from the younger years to the older ones? Of course not.
A Unio advert tells us how a harassed student got help from the SU to work against her harasser. This, technically, is bullying, and yet the university seems to brush over this term, keeping that to the more immature humans amongst us, and telling us that we’re being “harassed” instead. Why must we use this term? Why can we not call it what we have been our whole lives: bullying? Not calling it bullying makes students feel like it’s not ‘serious’ enough to come to the attention of their institution, especially one in higher education like university or college.
Bullying can come in many forms. In 2011, a study by Walker, Sockman and Koehn found that 54 percent of undergraduate students have experienced cyberbullying. Take, for example, Facebook. Horrible things can be put on there, and with new anonymous question apps such as Curious Cat, people can get very vicious very quickly. Just because it’s online, it doesn’t mean it isn’t real. People are made to repeatedly feel like they are worth less because they are different in some way; but not worthless enough to come forward to the university about it. Bullying isn’t just a game kids play when they’re 13 years old. Bullying is, sadly, an epidemic that not only makes lives hellish but takes them too, and it happens to all ages.