Why Victims Might Not Report Bullying


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Children May Not Report Bullying Because They Feel Responsible for the Abuse. Children who are bullied often feel like they somehow “deserve” the abuse. Therefore, victims of bullying typically feel a great deal of shame and guilt surrounding the bullying. As a result, victims may remain silent and choose not to report bullying. Many times, kids only report physical bullying because it is easy to recognize. In turn, they fail to report more subtle forms of bullying like relational aggression.

They don’t realize that spreading rumors, ostracizing others and sabotaging relationships also constitute bullying. For instance, some research suggests that bullying may have as much of an effect on kids who witness it like those kids who are victims of bullying. Yet, few kids report the bullying. Not only do they fail to stand up to the bully, but they also never report what they see to an adult. Students may not report being victims of bullying because it makes them feel ashamed, afraid, and powerless.

Over time, they may come to feel they deserve to be bullied. This may be particularly true of children in fourth grade and up. Because adults rarely intervene, young people may come to believe they can bully without any consequences. Study Finds Most Bullying Not Reported; Reporting More Likely When Physical Harm Involved.

Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) Bullying often goes unreported in U.S. schools, making the problem difficult for school officials to identify and manage. However, a new report identifies several factors tied to increased reporting to school officials. Office space is not necessarily safe space. Victims of workplace abuse are often mislabeled as bullies themselves, and may even be stigmatized by supervisors as lousy employees despite stellar job. Victims of bullying may be socially withdrawn and do not have a supportive group of friends.

Again, research on bullying discovered that the support group can change the whole dynamic of a bullying act by defending the weak, but when there is no support group, it will make it easy to find the victims alone and bully them. Another reason why victims don’t report or delay reporting is that they fear retaliation, and we have evidence from recent events to validate that fear. If the victim counts the bully as a friend (or wants to be his or her friend), telling may not seem like an option.

Fear adults will do nothing: Kids may be skeptical that adults can, or will. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.

Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated.

List of related literature:

The victims often do not report cyber bullying for fear of retaliation from the bully and experience emotional and behavioral symptoms along with school-related problems (Suzuki et al., 2012).

“Public Health Nursing E-Book: Population-Centered Health Care in the Community” by Marcia Stanhope, Jeanette Lancaster
from Public Health Nursing E-Book: Population-Centered Health Care in the Community
by Marcia Stanhope, Jeanette Lancaster
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2019

Victims may be reluctant to report what is happening, partly because they may not be entirely sure that it is bullying.

“Making Sense of Sex: A Forthright Guide to Puberty, Sex and Relationships for People with Asperger's Syndrome” by Sarah Attwood
from Making Sense of Sex: A Forthright Guide to Puberty, Sex and Relationships for People with Asperger’s Syndrome
by Sarah Attwood
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008

Vulnerable bully/victims were least likely of all subjects to say that reporting will “usually” help a bullying situation.

“Bullying and Cyberbullying: What Every Educator Needs to Know” by Elizabeth Kandel Englander
from Bullying and Cyberbullying: What Every Educator Needs to Know
by Elizabeth Kandel Englander
Harvard Education Press, 2013

Because children often do not report being bullied to adults, it is important for parents, educators, and other adults who work with children to be vigilant for possible signs of bullying.

“Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age” by Robin M. Kowalski, Susan P. Limber, Patricia W. Agatston
from Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age
by Robin M. Kowalski, Susan P. Limber, Patricia W. Agatston
Wiley, 2009

The reason is that there are also employees who report suffering from an unmanageable workload or excessive monitoring who would not consider themselves victims of bullying.

“Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace: Developments in Theory, Research, and Practice, Second Edition” by Stale Einarsen, Helge Hoel, Dieter Zapf, Cary Cooper
from Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace: Developments in Theory, Research, and Practice, Second Edition
by Stale Einarsen, Helge Hoel, et. al.
CRC Press, 2010

Reporting, Review, and Response Process To address cyberbullying and cyberthreats effectively requires that students be willing to report such incidents to adults.

“Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Aggression, Threats, and Distress” by Nancy E. Willard
from Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Aggression, Threats, and Distress
by Nancy E. Willard
Research Press, 2007

Other victims are afraid to report incidents of bullying because they view telling as a sign of immaturity or that they are tattletales.

“Successful Classroom Management and Discipline: Teaching Self-Control and Responsibility” by Tom V. Savage, Marsha K. Savage
from Successful Classroom Management and Discipline: Teaching Self-Control and Responsibility
by Tom V. Savage, Marsha K. Savage
SAGE Publications, 2009

Yet, too often, adults cannot identify bullies or victims at school, because students very rarely break the code of silence to rat on bullies.

“Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration” by Fenwick W. English
from Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration
by Fenwick W. English
SAGE Publications, 2006

Because the elderly and children are especially vulnerable to abuse, reporting hotlines provide community members with an opportunity to report such acts when it is unlikely that victims will be able to report such abuses themselves.

“Violence in the Home: Multidisciplinary Perspectives” by Karel Kurst-Swanger, Assistant Professor of Department of Public Justice Karel Kurst-Swanger, Jacqueline L. Petcosky
from Violence in the Home: Multidisciplinary Perspectives
by Karel Kurst-Swanger, Assistant Professor of Department of Public Justice Karel Kurst-Swanger, Jacqueline L. Petcosky
Oxford University Press, 2003

It is important to create conditions that encourage both victims and bystanders to report bullying when it occurs.

“Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology” by Charles Spielberger
from Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology
by Charles Spielberger
Elsevier Science, 2004

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

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Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
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  • as a kid with adhd, i get bullied and excluded all the time. My 2 best friends recently told me to commit suicide and they laughed when I said I was actually going to do it.

  • I have been working in a dental office for about 4y now, I love my 3 bosses and my co-workers except for receptionist who has made my life a living hell. She, Linda, has been working for 16 years there. Many patients have left because of her, another receptionist has been on medication because of her. Many patients don’t talk to her and ask for the other receptionist and they say they don’t want to deal with her, once one of the dentist scream and said she is going to give me heart attack. another dentist who is a 78 years old man yield saying get out of my office. She takes pride in saying that many patients have left the clinique because of her. she says the dentists don’t have the guts to fire her. Many patient tell me why is she still here? one receptionist has reduced her hours and she works only on mondays and tuesdays, so both days they fight all day long, the rest of the week I am her target all day long, once I left the office and I was in the bus stop she came started screaming at me, apparently I has said or done something she did not like, I ran away, and I went back to the office, since then anytime I see her in the bus stop I change my direction, I story goes on and on, I don’t know what to do, I come home and I cray

  • My friend has adhd and she is really annoying she is judging everyone base on their looks and she’s really sensitive she always wants to fight with our classmate and teachers the entire campus knew that she is annoying and last but not the least she’s the one whose the bully of our classroom

  • I have 2 friends with adhd one that is now 11 and one that is 13
    1 year ago i was 12 and my adhd friend was 10 but some kids made him cry and threw sand in his eyes when he was screaming for help and they threw mud all over him so i beat up the bullies

  • Bullying: anxiety: low self-esteem: shame: isolation……. Is this a cycle or spiral with one root cause? Bullying? Address what the cause of bullying and or its effects?

  • I was bullied and harassed in workplace.I know how difficult is it to go through bullying.So,I have turned to activism against bullying.Plz no bully.

  • 99% of the time they will just try to fire the person reporting the harrasment. This is standard HR managment 101 and then hope and pray the retaliation lawsuit doesn’t hold up in court.

  • if only one person’s online & other forms of privacy is infringed upon in a school then that too is discriminatory harassment, isn’t it? because that means unequal rights for different people.

  • It sure when somebody follows you and start to talk about how they found out about this guys rap career and how you want to futher it to the bus driver and tell you its cold you need to bundle up.

  • I got adhd and weirdly i used to be bullied by a classmate who also has adhd and i used to kinda bully him until we realized We’re actually in love with each other.
    As a girl with adhd i oddly Find myself more comfortable around boys than girls because well boys are more immature and less organized. Like i can’t tell u how many times i got picked on by “teachers pets” who are girls or bullied in my “friend circle” for zoning out being absent minded and other adhd symptoms

  • Most companies do not allow you to record information and HR just protect manager’s backsides. When you make a grievance this picks you out to be bullied out of the door and then the next thing you know you are obliged either to sign a non-disclosure agreement to get your outstanding payments and a fair reference or you will have to spend vast amounts of money taking it to tribunal.

    If you are bullied at work, you are better off changing jobs. It hits the employer in the pocket and hopefully, it forces them to realise there is a problem in the workplace.

  • A bizarre story about a smear campaign, stalking, bullying and harassment can be
    found on facebook @ ColePhoenixWolvesforHire. Please share the story.

  • Too little testimony from adults who are bullied. I am assertive enough to draw the line, but I have seen far too much bullying from adults, and I believe it would help kids to hear how adults cope. Weinstein got away with extreme bullying for decades, for example. Narcissistic Personality Disordered (NPD) people are constantly trampling interpersonal boundaries; interesting to witness when they bully each other. Police and Bosses and others in authority bully with impunity much of the time. I have brought bullying to the attention of managers at work, and each time they amazingly act as though they don’t even recognize it for what it is: an attempt to abuse power advantage to violate boundaries, extract unfair privilege, or humiliate someone.

  • Calling it “incivility” minimizes it, which perpetuates the abuse. What you described sounds like a cakewalk. The women I dealt with were so much more calculating, sadistic & deceptive. And I did what management said to do, which made it worse, only to be told there was nothing management could do about the situation. I found that many narcissists were drawn to the field, and that there was no real hope for change with them. The narcissist nurses stayed on, because they were in complete control of the situation, and their victims left nursing, with the debt to show for it.













  • Thank you for this video! The best therapists lived through it! I was a victim of my ex-husband…when he tried to kill me. He stalked me for over a year while I fought to take control over my life as a SURVIVOR. I also trusted the justice system, but faced the fact when it came to my own safety, I was on my own. It is all part of the reason why I work with veterans, like my second husband with PTSD. We have been married for 35 years. You can change what you do from the second you go from being victim to survivor.

  • Sorry, but no sale. By this standard, we should revoke laws and regulations workplace harassment laws too including religious, racial, sexual, orientation, and gender identity harassment. How do you expect kids to behave any better if the adults behave just as badly? In fact, school bullying seems a precursor to adult workplace bullying. Also, “deal with it on your own”, “talk it out” is nonsense. It’s the equivalent of saying “talk it out with your spouse, boss, etc.” with a victim of domestic violence or workplace bullying. Sometimes governments or other higher authorities do need to intervene, especially if the “self-regulators” don’t regulate their own workplace or school behavior (19th century underpaid workers in factories is a great example of government intervention, forcing the business establishment to pay workers better, increase workplace safety, and so forth). Like I said, no sale.

  • Bullied I have because why my teachers have been jealous of me they called The police because apparently I got my own back on them because they did something to me but I didn’t do anything severe that would break the law and they think it’s okay to do that they laugh at me when they don’t help me deal with my issues to be honest I don’t have any depression