Bullying is a significant problem that can lead to physical injuries and psychological harm to a victim. In today’s day and age, bullies are finding creative new ways to target, manipulate and harm their victims, such as through the use of technology. Being aware of the types of bullying that your child could potentially face can help you take prompt and appropriate action.
Sexual bullying can refer to sex crimes or inappropriate sexual contact committed against a victim by a fellow student, peer or older adolescent. It can involve child sexual abuse at school, sexualized name-calling, crude or vulgar comments, inappropriate hand gestures or facial expressions, sexual harassment, touching of the private parts, spreading around pornographic materials, or sexual assault and rape.
Physical bullying occurs when one or more perpetrators intentionally physically injure a victim, such as through hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, pushing, pinching or using weapons against a victim. Physical bullying can result in serious bodily injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and cuts or lacerations.
Verbal bullying is especially dangerous because it is an invisible type of bullying; there may not be visible physical signs of verbal bullying or abuse, which can make it more difficult to detect. Verbal bullying can involve name-calling and the use of words to berate, humiliate, belittle, hurt or demean a victim. Verbal bullying can result in mental and emotional distress, as well as reduced self-esteem, depression and suicidal tendencies.
Cyberbullying occurs when a bully makes use of technology or the internet to bully, harass, stalk or humiliate a victim. Cyberbullying may involve sending the victim hurtful or abusive messages, leaving mean comments on social media profiles, circulating “revenge porn” or pornographic images of the victim digitally, or spreading rumors through digital communication.
Ethnic or Racial Bullying
Bullies may choose their targets based on a protected class, such as a victim’s race, color, country of origin or ethnicity. Racially targeted bullying can ostracize a victim from his or her peers, causing serious social and psychological damage. It may involve derogatory comments based on race or ethnicity, racial slurs, perpetuating stereotypes, or exclusion and isolation.
Homophobic or LGBTQ Bullying
This type of bullying targets individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ or are perceived as being part of this community. It may involve derogatory comments, social exclusion, verbal or emotional abuse, physical attacks, and even sexual assault. Bullying based on an individual’s gender, gender identity or gender expression can also fall under this category.
Relational or Social Bullying
This is a nuanced form of bullying that parents and teachers may not notice. It involves harming a victim’s social standing within a school. It is also known as social aggression. It can involve spreading rumors or gossiping about the victim, manipulating social situations to isolate or embarrass the victim, orchestrating acts of public humiliation, or excluding the victim from certain groups or activities. Relational bullying can make a victim feel alone, ostracized and helpless.
What to Do if Your Child Is Being Bullied
Bullying is not just an inevitable part of attending school or “kids being kids.” It is a serious problem that has resulted in life-changing injuries, psychological damage and even student deaths. If your child is a victim of any form of bullying in Missouri, contact the sexual abuse attorneys at DRZ Law for a free legal consultation. Your family may be able to recover financial compensation from the school through a civil lawsuit for failing to protect your child from harmful bullying behaviors.