Bullying, especially of the psychological and emotional variety, is difficult to prove to people in authority who can help the target. There are several reasons for this:
1. Bullies are Master Seducers (Charmers).
Bullies know how to charm the right people. When the target finally gets fed up and reports the bullying, the bully will often make the target look like the bully. The bully does this by convincingly rationalizing and justifying the behavior. Therefore, the staff is likely to either ignore the targets pleas for help, or blame them.
The bully will also use high marks, excellent grades, and class/work performance to charm and influence those in authority.
Bullies can also use good looks, impeccable dressing, and grooming to seduce others. Called the halo effect, this phenomenon is where those who look the best are the most trusted and respected by others.
2. Bullies are Convincing Liars and Actors.
They have a flair for spreading the most convincing rumors and lies. Bullies do this to convince others not to associate with the target. Therefore, the target loses support and has no one to turn to for help.
Because the victim often reacts out of emotion, the bully puts on a calm and collected demeanor. Therefore, people in authority will almost always side with the bully because of this false coolness the bully displays.
The bully points out the target’s perfectly normal emotional reaction and twists everything to convince everyone of the target’s guilt. He will portray the target as unstable, crazy, overly dramatic, or too sensitive. The bully will also feign victim-hood by bursting into tears. Understand that this is all designed to shift the blame onto the real target. Therefore, the bully wins bystanders and authority over to her side.
The most seasoned bullies are also master wordsmiths who can explain away and rationalize any bad behavior. They can spin a story that is so convincing that teachers and supervisors will find it hard not to believe it. In the end, the target gets the blame, and either those in authority either refuse to discipline the bully, or punish the target instead.
3. Documenting (or Journaling) offers the disgraced target a voice, enabling them to have a say when no one else is listening.
As stated, the target often gets the blame when he/she reports harassment to the people who can help them. By documenting the abuse, the target can tell their side without anyone ignoring or trivializing their experiences.
4. Documenting offers Victims a Legal Record of the Bullying.
If the bully hurts the target badly enough to require medical attention, a plaintiff can use the journal as proof in court. Documentation is admissible in court.
5. Documenting is very cathartic and therapeutic.
It allows the target to express the emotions they could never show any other way. Journals cannot trivialize the target’s experiences, nor can they invalidate her in any way. Journals are also confidential. They cannot go to the bullies nor anyone else and repeat what the target tells them.
These are the reasons you absolutely must document every day about what bullies put you through. When you document, be sure to include who the bullies are (full names and, if necessary, titles and positions). Also, jot down where each incident happened (school locker room, gym, the bathroom at work, etc.). Include the names of any bystanders and teachers/supervisors present. Moreover, write down the exact time and date the incident happened, what happened, and who said or did what. If possible, write down why it happened (was the bully retaliating because you reported prior harassment?). Write down every detail!
If you have tried telling a staff member or your parents about how classmates or coworkers bully you, only for them to silence or blame you- document it. If no one will listen or offer support, you owe it to yourself to create a written record of the bullying and harassment.
You want to document every day to establish a pattern of bullying and abuse. It was how I survived those six long years of being bullied in school. It was the only outlet I had. I can attest to you that if I hadn’t documented everything in my journal every day, I might not be alive today. When I began keeping a written record during the eighth grade, it was freeing, and I felt that I was finally having my say.
So, if you can’t talk about it, write about it!
With knowledge comes empowerment!