Ever had the feeling that you or someone close to you was being picked on?

What is bullying?

A bully is a person who uses strength or power to coerce and threaten others.
None of us should tolerate bullying. It is deliberate and harmful and can have negative long-term effects. Everybody has the right to feel safe and secure and not be threatened.

Bullies and victims in The Tribe

In The Tribe, Lex is probably the most obvious example of a bully. He often behaves in a condescending way towards others. His bravado and put-downs act as a cover up for his own personal insecurities.

The initial relationship between Lex and Patch in Tribe IV looks headed for that of bully-victim. Lex is jealous of Patch’s intellect and also recognises Patch as an ‘easy target’ who may not feel confident in sticking up for himself. At first, Patch is uneasy and self -conscious around Lex.

Patch could do well to notice some of the other characters dealings with Lex. Pride and Salene, for instance, are both very assertive and quickly stand up to any posturing or insults from Lex.

Ebony and Ram are shrewder but certainly play the bully as much as Lex. They have a wish for power, and their desire to manipulate and threaten is ultimately far more dangerous. Ram’s use of ‘mind games’ is consistent with that of the most formidable of bullies.

It is often said that Ebony will do anything to get power and pity help anybody that tries to get in her way. Like Ram, she is prepared to use others as pawns to achieve her goal. How much could her hunger for power be to do with a childhood feeling of inferiority and powerlessness next to her sisters? It is often the case that the worst bullies are those that have been bullied themselves.

Types of Bullying

Bullying can occur on many levels.

1. Emotional/Verbal
Putting someone down, calling people names, talking about someone behind their back

2. Exclusion
Leaving people out

3. Manipulation
Scheming against the victim; setting them up for a fall

4. Physical
Hitting, kicking and other nasties, stand over tactics

Who is likely to be a bully?

We know that bullies are often people who feel insecure about themselves. By putting down others it makes them feel more powerful. They often also do it to impress others and make themselves look more important or cool.

Bullies tend to pick on those who lack confidence or who dare to be different from the crowd. Bullies know that they are going to get away with it if the victim is passive in their response.
As in the example of Lex and Patch, jealousy often plays a large part in the bullying.

So often the ‘brain box’ or the person who is good at something which is different from the norm is the target of jealous bullying.

Bullies have often been the victims of bullying in the past, as in the possible case of Ebony. Many is the time when a bully at school has developed his/her bad habits as the result of a ribbing from older siblings or even parents at home.

The wrong and right ways to react to bullying

Firstly the wrong !

Doing nothing about the bullying; ignoring or pretending to laugh along with the bully; body language displays lack of confidence such as head and eyes down. The victim feels bad but does not tell anybody.

This strategy is to be avoided. A passive response just encourages the bully. If the victim ‘bottles it up’ and does not tell anybody it can lead to them believing that there is something wrong with them and that it is their own fault.

Aggressive The victim gets involved in a slanging match with the bully that leads to a fight.
Although some physicality may occur, it should really only be used as a last resort. Verbally or physically aggressive responses may only inflame the situation. They may lead to reprisals and could easily result in injuries and who knows what other problems!

The right!

Stand strong and tall. Look the bully in the eyes. Act confidently and assertively, even if you are not feeling it. Use ‘I’ statements and if appropriate comments such as “You have no right…” In other words stand up to the bully and make him/her feel that it is unacceptable. It is very important that you talk to someone you trust about the event such as a parent, a close friend or a teacher.

If you are the victim remember

  • Be assertive – remember that you have the power to help yourself
  • Talk to adults and supportive peers
  • It is not your fault that you are being bullied
  • Be yourself
  • If you are the bully

  • Overcome the temptation to bully
  • In situations where you are tempted, turn and walk away
  • Ask yourself why you are doing this