Probably the biggest reason why bullying went unchecked for several centuries was the fact that when bullying occurred, most people were inclined to blame the victim for it. Out would come the age old quips: “You should stand up for yourself more,” “You shouldn’t be so annoying,” “It’s because you’re so weird,” etc. I could probably gone on for hours here but that would wear out my typing fingers and I want to get to the point. That is that bullies were largely given free reign to carry out their atrocities because everyone would say that it was the victim’s fault.
My thoughts on victim blaming remind me of the film, “Big Bully,” with Tom Arnold and Rick Moranis. In the film, the boy, who would eventually become Tom Arnold’s character horrendously bullies the boy who would become Rick Moranis’s. While they go separate ways as kids, they meet as adults and when Tom Arnold discovers the identity of his former victim, renews his bullying. Eventually, they reconcile but the reason Tom Arnold gives for his constant bullying was that his victim never did anything to stop it. So, it’s the victim’s fault once again.
Throughout my early life as a bullying victim, I was often blamed for being a victim. Whether it was teachers, other kids or sometimes my own family, I was blamed because I didn’t stand up for myself. What some people don’t realize was that sometimes I did but that only made it worse. FFI read my post, “You’re an Asshole for Standing Up For Yourself.” When I stood up for myself, I was made out to be the troublemaker and sometimes even the bully because the bully usually had enough of a following to twist things around to make it look like I had started it all. This resulted in me believing that no matter what I did, it was going to be wrong and made me even more reluctant to stand up for myself.
The last paragraph reminded me of a guy who I was in the marines with. He was constantly the target of teasing and bullying and he would often stand up for himself. The result would often be him getting his ass kicked. Now, in some cases, while he was noble in standing up for himself, the way he did so may not have been the best choice, especially his favourite comeback being, “F*ck you, mother f*cker.” There were worse things than that though. One time, when he was on the receiving end, one of his tormentors informed him that the CO said that he was the biggest troublemaker in the company. In other words, he was considered the troublemaker when he was actually the victim.
I tried to convey this point when I wrote “He Was Weird.” Many people blame Mark for the bullying he receives because he doesn’t always stand up for himself or when he does, is made out to be the troublemaker. Also, many people think he deserves the bullying he suffers because of the fact that he is perceived to be so weird. It goes even further after Mark finally carries out his revenge. The survivors of his onslaught all agree that he received so much bullying because of all his weird behaviour. In the book, we see this in its full glory when Mark is indecently assaulted by Smiley.
Blaming the victim for being bullied is wrong. Yes, maybe the victim may have been annoying but in most of those cases, it is the case of the bully having a low tolerance point and using any excuse to lash out on the victim. Furthermore, if the bully can’t stand up for him/herself, that doesn’t give bullies carte blanche to continue their aggression on the victim. Bullying because one can is the shittiest excuse there is. Now that bullying is finally being take seriously and steps are being taken against it, the notion of it somehow it being the victim’s fault needs to be eradicated. Once this wall is blown apart, it will clear a major road in getting rid of bullying all together.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462988442&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird