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By Mpho Shelile

MASERU – While it might seem like dealing with bullies is a thing that only children might go through, one can be confronted with bullies at any stage of their life. Be it at work, the gym, or even in your own home.

 Bullying is not only about being bullied or doing the bullying, it is a frustrating and painful experience. When one is being bullied, it can often feel like things are out of their hands. While the burden is never on you to stop the bullying, and it may never be your fault, there are some things you can do to handle being bullied.

Some of the things which are often recognized are physical and verbal aggressive manners that school children endure from their peers. However, there are actually six different kinds of bullying: physical, verbal, relational, cyber, sexual, and prejudicial.

People who are bullied can experience short or long term problems, including depression and anxiety, substance abuse, difficulties at school or work such as underachieving and poor attendance, and even suicide. Physical bullying is the most obvious type of bullying and what many people think of when they imagine this kind of violence, it involves any assault on a person’s body, including hitting, kicking, tripping, or pushing, while verbal abuse is insults, threats and teasing. And prejudicial bullying involves race, religion and more.

One can help a person who is being bullied by listening to them and letting him or her know you are available to talk or even help. A person who is being bullied may struggle talking about it. Consider letting the person know that there are other people who can talk with him or her about bullying. In addition, you might consider referring them to the school counselor, psychologist, or other mental health specialist. Give the child advice about what he or she can do. Which might include role-playing and acting out a bullying incident as you guide the child so that the child knows what to do in a real life situation. Follow up with the person to show that you are committed to helping put a stop to the bullying.

Become a friend to the person who is being bullied, so they do not feel alone. One can also provide assistance without getting entangled in the bullying situation or putting themselves at risk. Do not enable bullying by providing an audience. Set a good example by not bullying. And it is always a good thing to advice people that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but it is a show of courage!

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