Humiliation, unlike embarrassment or shame, leaves a mark on the person who suffers it, and the stigma surrounding the person can follow them for the rest of their lives. Why? Because people who’ve been publicly humiliated are always thought of and remembered for their humiliation. Think, Harvey Weinstein and the sex scandals which broke a few years ago.
Although ol’ Harvey’s humiliation is well-deserved, not so for victims of bullying. Innocent victims are often humiliated by their bullies and stuck in an uncomfortable and degrading position while others gather around excitedly to taunt and abuse them.
Humiliation has been used down through the ages. Tarring and feathering was a technique used in the Old West, which involved covering people with hot tar and feathers and parading them through the crowded streets on a horse-drawn cart. Think of Chuck Connors’ character, Jason McCord, in the old western series, “Branded.”
To humiliate someone is to assert power over them by denying and destroying their personal dignity. Throughout history, humiliation has been the most common and effective means of punishment, abuse, and oppression. It’s not the threat of imprisonment or even death that is a deterrent of crime; it is the dread of humiliation.
It’s a fact! People fear losing face worse than they do a violent death!
Humiliation is also used to maintain a social hierarchy and to emphasize that the group, alumni, organization, or community as a whole supersedes the individual. It is designed to defuse any threat to a particular order or someone’s esteemed position.
Think of today’s cancel culture.
In student hierarchies in schools, bullies at the top of the pecking order go to great lengths to protect their often ill-gotten status and uphold their positions. At the same time, the other kids are forced to submit to different kinds of debasement. And it’s the same in the workplace too.
Anytime a target of bullying defends himself against harassment and abuse, the bullies will often use humiliation to retaliate and subdue the victim by way of jokes, pranks, or setting the target up to get in trouble with the staff or a horrific beating by other kids. Bullies at the top will also spread vicious rumors and lies against their object.
Most forms of humiliation involve invading the victim’s privacy and sneakily taking videos of him/her in compromising positions.
A targeted girl is taking a shower in the locker room or undressing in the privacy of her bedroom, and the bullies hide behind a corner or just outside her bedroom window at night and take videos of her with their smartphones. They then spread the videos to other classmates. Or worse, a girl naively sends her boyfriend a nude selfie. They break up. He then shares it on social media, and the photo goes viral!
A targeted boy is standing in front of a urinal using the bathroom, and a bully hides in the stall next to him, peering through the crack and the camera lens on his smartphone, taking videos of his manly areas. He then sends the video to all his buddies, and they laugh and joke about how small, crooked his package is (or it could be the mole, anything different about it). Remember the suicides of Tyler Clementi and Amanda Todd and the circumstances surrounding each case.
Example 3: A bright worker is set up to fail in the workplace. And when he does, it follows him the rest of his working life.
Humiliation is horrible for anyone. It is so devastating that it involves negative things with which the victim will always be associated, and there will be no getting away from it! Embarrassment and shame are only temporary. Humiliation, however, can follow a person for the rest of their lives!
So, if you are a victim of bullying, protect yourself. Also, I cannot stress this advice enough! No matter how much your boyfriend/girlfriend may claim he/she loves you! No matter how much the person begs and pleads for you to do it, nor what they threaten you with if you don’t! Never, ever, ever let anyone talk you into sending a nude pic! Ever!
And if anyone ever films you in an indecent position without you knowing it, know that what they did is against the law! Speak out about it and file criminal charges and a civil suit for damages!
The more you know, the better you protect yourself!