Bullies: Rapists of the mind

Sunday, March 26, 2017 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

Bullies are rapists of the mind. Bullies rape your mind over and over through their microaggressions, taking your sanity from you piece by piece.

Bullying kills.

It is horrible that rape and bullying share a culture of shame perpetuated by the very people who witness it. Real shame lies in discouraging victims from speaking up, taking action, and pointing a finger at their aggressors.

expose bullies

Don’t take bullying lightly. It isn’t likely to go away unless you expose and confront the bully.

Please think twice before you tell a victim of bullying to keep quiet or let things go. Bullying isn’t something anyone should try to silence.

We have to speak out. We have to stand up.

We have to fight the bully.

Fighting back

Many of us are under the impression that exposing a bully is a form of bullying itself. It is not. Exposing a bully is not bullying.

Of course, that doesn’t stop a bully from claiming that you’re the one being the bully if you expose him. Case in point: The cyberbully I mentioned in a previous post tried to twist things around, saying that exposing him was akin to humiliating him. (Here’s more on why a bully will try to claim you’re bullying him instead.)

If you don’t want to be exposed publicly for being a rapist, pervert, or bully, then don’t be one.

As long as you refrain from ad hominem attacks and name-calling, you’re not bullying anyone. You’re protecting yourself, not to mention his future victims.

According to Mental Health Support in the UK, “Bullying [behavior] cannot continue to have its desired effect if the intended victim successfully stands up to the bully. Once you have identified a bully and know what to expect from him or her, you must choose not to be a victim, if you want the bullying to stop. Expose the bullying for what it is. Take a stand, and don’t back down.”

It continues to say, “Confrontation and exposure, with evidence to support a victim’s accusations, are what the bully tries hardest to avoid. Once exposure happens, the bullying is likely to stop.”


Exposed bullies are likely to stop

I have never met the person who cyberbullied me. I didn’t know who he was personally. The safest way for me to expose him was to recount the experience in a safe space.

When you expose a person, do it calmly and make sure you’re safe. Exposing a bully in a safe space, especially when you don’t know the bully, ensures that he can’t hurt you because everybody is watching. Exposing a bully is sending him the message that his actions will not be without consequences if he’s stupid enough to think he can pull it off again with another victim.

There is nothing more frightening to bullies than being exposed for what they are.

Not keeping mum about a bully will scare him and discourage him from finding another victim – perhaps someone you love this time around.

Exposing a bully doesn’t mean having to win the argument, or having the last say. State your case and nobody will pay attention to his illogical justification and ad hominem attacks.

More often than not, the bullying will stop.


Stand up to bullies!

You have the right to stand up for yourself! In fact, online bullying among students is now against the law.

There is a lot that needs to be done for us to address bullying properly in terms of legislation and public education. We need to educate people about what it is, and what to do if they become either victims or witnesses.

I, for one, will no longer choose to stay quiet when someone tries to bully me. I will speak up, give it its proper name (yes, it’s bullying), and expose the aggressor.

I will no longer suffer in silence and be made to believe it’s something I should fight privately, as if it’s something I have to be ashamed of. How about you?

Do not let bullies get away with their intimidation tactics and attempts to isolate you. If you know someone being bullied, tell them that it’s okay for them to expose the bully! Tell them they don’t have to suffer in private.

More importantly, don’t tell them to just shrug it off. Don’t tell them to keep quiet about it. This is the worst advice you can ever give to a victim, the same way the worst thing we can tell a victim of harassment or rape is to just settle things quietly.

Before I forget…

1. Always prioritize your safety when dealing with a bully. For instance, do not try to confront a bully on the road – he might have a gun on him. Seek safety first then report the bully to the proper authorities.

2. Exposing a bully might actually mean having to do so without your loved ones around, and without the support of people you thought would be there for you. Your buddies in the workplace might actually look away the moment you confront a bully. (See previous post about spectator shame.)

3. If you feel that you are in serious danger, report the bully to the proper authorities. You can also check out these steps on how to handle adult bullies.

4. Talk about how you were bullied the same way I did! Being a silent victim encourages bullying. Speaking about your experience might also give you the courage to confront your bully. In fact, you can share your stories here! Feel free to do so in the comment section – your stories can help other targets of bullying.


What can you do right now?

Share this with your loved ones. Let us expose the bullies in our midst. Let us hope we can save the lives of their victims. (And read the first part of this article if you haven’t yet.)

Note: This article deals with adult bullies (mine in particular was a cyberbully). School bullies may be minors, which means they are to be dealt with differently. Workplace bullies may require documentation. Different circumstances require different approaches. Always research your strategy before confronting and exposing a bully.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!