Published April 12, 2013 by Vida Caramela
Target validation

Drawing by VidaCaramela

The voices of those who are being bullied need to be heard and validated. While many targets feel powerless and alone, and while some suffer in silence, the bullying is left unchecked.  One way to counter this is to let these targets know that they are not alone, not to blame, and that they have done nothing to deserve the treatment they are receiving from the bully. There is NO justification for it.  Most targets report feelings of self doubt, and self deprecation. Remind them of their strengths, and assure them that they are not worthless, like their tormentors would have them believe. We cannot afford to turn our backs on the targets of bullying. We feel outraged when we hear the story of a mother who lets her children suffer at the hands of an abusive father and denies that it is happening, but we treat the targets of bullying in similar fashion. It seems like it’s human nature to choose the path of least resistance. The problem of bullying will never be resolved if it is rationalized or ignored.  Sometimes, it’s the fear of drawing attention to ourselves, that keeps us from advocating for the targets of bullying or from validating their concerns. After all, who wants to join in the suffering?  This attitude results in the isolation of the target.  This is one of the most destructive impacts of bullying.  It reminds me of the way predators often hunt for large prey. They maximize the efficiency of their attack by isolating the individual from the pack.  There is a way to fight this, and that is to operate under the principle that there is safety in numbers. Targets need support. If we begin to listen to, and bear up their complaints, instead of hiding our heads in the sand, or worse, asking the target to join us in doing so, then change will come.


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