“Siding with the bully is psychologically easier for your average self-serving person,” Megan Graham writes:
- If you’re a victim of bullying, don’t expect sympathy, or even to be believed.
- Being a victim will not win you friends and if you speak up about it you can expect further discrimination.
- If people allow themselves to be aware of bullying and abuse they feel pressure to act, or ashamed for doing nothing. It’s easier to keep your head down.
- Blaming the victim is a stock tactic. In response to the (persistent) booing of Aboriginal footballer, Adam Goodes, for example, shock jock Alan Jones described him as “always a victim” as if the problem was Goodes’ mindset, rather than the treatment of him. People are expected to ‘suck it up’ no matter how often or how offensive the abuse.
- “You deserve what you get” rolls easily off the tongue for people who enjoy privilege and therefore have the luxury to declare it doesn’t exist.
- Similar themes are taken up by Chris Graham: “Our determined indifference to the suffering of other people, from refugees, Pacific Islanders, and First Nations people – pervades all levels of Australian society, from ministers and prime ministers, to footy fans and newspaper columnists.”
- David Graeber argues that if we want to understand broad structures of human domination, including wars and oppression, we need to start with schoolyard bullying because that’s where the behaviors and attitudes begin.
So, the default is to blame the victim and side with the bully even if bullies are not popular either. This pattern starts early and becomes entrenched for such gains as…what exactly? Dominance for the sake of?
Changing these patterns and challenging power and its abuses means working against the status quo, but wouldn’t everybody be better off?…Joan Beckwith.
Written By Joan Beckwith, PhD