A solid foundation for bullying.

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With a steady stream of  News on TV and newspapers about many forms of bullying inflicted on school students including the latest insights on’hazing parties’at our Sandstone and other prestigious universities one wonders where this stems from? While this might go on in other countries, I am not aware of it, and can only write about what happens here ‘today’ in our own neck of the woods.

http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/labor-tells-residential-colleges-to-clean-up-their-act/9494780

The Australian school systems, especially the more exclusive ‘Private school’s’ have a system whereby the school classes have captains, prefects or duxes appointed by the head master or mistress whose rules and penalties were the standards and to be obeyed without questioning or a recourse to a higher authority. The most likely reason for this is that many established rules of our societal norms have been inherited from the British. (Till this day our head of state is the English Queen). In schools cheating or letting down the other side is still considered more serious than failures of sensitivity. Stealing is still seen as the most serious failure.

In Australian schools, prowess at sport is extremely praiseworthy and excuses many breaches of rules and decorum. Bookishness and dislike for physical activities is disliked and even arouse suspicions of a certain moral darkness and even invites punishment or some form of disciplinary action for the slightest breach of the rules set by the school captains or prefects. A good rapping over the knuckles with a bamboo stick was the answer.

Hardiness is considered more important than sensitivity, let alone imagination. In boarding schools you get up at six, take a cold shower and run a mile before the classes assembled in uniformed solidarity. Woe those that had hidden a book under their pillow.

It isn’t’ just at schools that initiated the now well established nation-wide art of bullying. This was also the norm at many work places. After arrival in Australia I was amazed at the initiation practices imposed on young apprentices including myself, a cruel process of degrading the hapless victim, most times of a sexual nature, often overseen by the chortling foreman or factory manager. It was ‘the norm.’ A psychologist would rationalise and explain it by saying; ‘you give back what was given to you.’ This is at the very centre of what is now still so rampant in Australia. ‘We bully you to give back what we were given.’

It just doesn’t apply to schools or universities. Just look how our politicians behave, almost on a daily basis. And how does one explain the fact that refugees are now in their fifth year of deliberate and intentional detention on Nauru an Manus. While a small dribble of people have finally been allowed to settle in America, the majority are still stuck in endless limbo. A purer form of punishment and bullying would be hard to imagine.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-01/bullying-must-stop-pm-writes-to-schools-amid-university-hazing/9496150

Yet, our PM has now instructed his department to write to every headmaster to install programmes to alleviate bullying. But this is a hollow act, perhaps to make him look good and enhance his future election as a PM.  A better example would be to show kindness to the refugees still in detention. Admit that coming by boat to Australia escaping the mayhem of bombings in own countries is no crime.

Our PM would do better and do away with the overt British system of discipline and punishment above all else.

Show some kindness instead.

 

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30 Responses to “A solid foundation for bullying.”

  1. bal837 Says:

    Well said. As an aside, we had a Head Girl at our boarding school who had only been there for one year but whose father was a leading prelate in the Anglican Church. So power and hierarchy are part of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      There is so much going on at boarding schools. Australia is trying to extradite a headmistress from Israel charged with multiple counts of sexual misconduct in an exclusive school in Australia. So far she has managed to escape justice claiming she isn’t fit enough to face a court.

      Like

  2. Carrie Rubin Says:

    Despite there being a spotlight on bullying now, with hopes of lessening it, it’s still far too prevalent no matter where we live. Unfortunately, the leader of my country is a big bully himself. How are we supposed to convince kids that bullying is wrong when the US president himself does it? Ugh. It’s troubling for sure.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Forestwood Says:

    Indeed. Show and spread kindness for it costs nothing but can make a world of difference to someone

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gerard oosterman Says:

    And just when we thought we had seen everything, just watch this extreme form of gun love. I thought oiling and stroking guns was popular, but this is something else.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-01/gun-toting-unification-church-goers-celebrate-weapons/9496876

    Like

  5. Dorothy Says:

    My opinion is that a lot of bullying goes on in the home, often by a father for his various reasons eg. His entertainment, asserting his authority, done by his father, to look cool with friends of the child, trying to look like a caring parent.
    Gerard how many boarding schools today, adhere to the harsh regime you have mentioned. The civil libertarians would have a lot to say.
    My sons friends told me that my son was bullied BY A TEACHER and they thought it was because at the time he had not grown to his full height. Apparently bumping into each other a few years later, and my son had actually grown to be the tallest, this teacher was scared and hurriedly scuttled away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That might be true, Dorothy. But, one could ask; where does the father get this bullying from? It doesn’t come with the cornflakes. Domestic violence is rife as well. A subject on which many are now poring.
      However, the study of British education confirmed by many a biography of well known people, point out the horrors of the British private school system, especially the boarding school culture. When you think about it; why would any parent put a young child into a school where they end up staying overnight and spending so much time away from their parents and other siblings.
      Of course teachers also can bully. I mean my brothers were caned at a school of Catholic Brothers. One of them specialised in not hitting the palm of the hand (with full throttle) but the top of the knuckles because it caused so much more pain. A weird form of Benediction.
      “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”. Whack, whack.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    YES, kindness, respect, mercy, selflessness, compassion, helping, etc., all need to come back into style and stay in style! GREAT post, Gerard!
    It’s hard for children to avoid being bullies when adults, especially the parents, leaders, and government leaders in their lives are being bullies. 😦
    Children need positives modeled in their lives….they need adults to treat them with all of the positives I listed above.
    (((HUGS))) for you and Helvi! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Carolyn.
      I so wish that Parliament would show civility and respect. It seems odd that our PM is sending letters to educational institution to stop bullying and hazing when during question time we are subjected to all sorts of insults flying about.
      There is even a special man seated on an elevated arm-chair when Government is sitting, overlooking the melee, shouting ‘order, order,’ after which even more shouting brakes out.
      Hugs too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. pethan35 Says:

    All very well said, Gerard. Bullying is part of Australian values, I suppose. You can observe it at parliamentary question time and it trickles down to the shop floor as you have experienced it yourself. Yesterday the story came out of bullying in university colleges. And so it goes….

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The ‘hazing’ subject at universities comes up every ten years or so, a bit like Sydney’s second airport.
      Nothing seems to change. It must be part of a culture that is moribund in accepting as inevitable that the status quo is to be maintained no matter what. A kind of lameness dating back to medieval times.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sherri Says:

    it goes on in the USA as well. a google search for hazing deaths USA will make a match for wikipedia; among others, but wikipedia gives the USA a list dating back to the 1838. of course this list is only for those that were reported correctly.

    we have taken bullying to a new level, which is murder

    hopefully, young people will decide for themselves they don’t require a fraternity to put a stamp of approval on them in order to have the self-esteem they want

    also, companies who hire these young people after graduation really need to stop inquiring if they were a member of a fraternity during interviews. that would go a long way to devalue the fraternity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Heaven only knows what goes on behind the doors of those hallowed fraternity establishments.
      After WW2, around four thousand children were exported to Australia from England. They were taken from their unmarried mothers or in some cases were orphans. About two thousand of those children are still alive. After a lengthy court battle and numerous apologies compensation is now being considered by the UK.
      The children after arrival were taken to work as slaves on Australian farms. A book was written by David Hill, ‘The forgotten Children.’ exposing the horrors experienced by those children.

      The mothers in England were told the children would get a good education. Nothing of the sort happened. The children after arriving in Australia were told that their mothers did not want them. A truly terrifying episode, and it happened not all that long ago..
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-02/uk-children-sent-to-australia-after-war-to-be-compensated/9501646

      Like

  9. stuartbramhall Says:

    Here in New Zealand, bullying by senior management is endemic in our health systems and hospitals. It’s no surprise to me that children of these individuals model this bullying behavior at school.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. gerard oosterman Says:

    I remember reports of senior doctors extracting all sorts of favours from students in return for giving good scores after exams. It seems that wherever one looks a kind of fog arises and I so wish to now get some ‘positive and feeling’ good news.
    Perhaps the fault lies in seeing or reading news. Should it be avoided? I went to the library yesterday and had a nap. That felt good.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I remember when our son went to Annapolis and the whole first summer was a form of bullying by upper class-men. People screaming at you while you are expected to stand there and say, yes sir. Boot camp isn’t any better. I have no tolerance for anyone yelling at me. Zero tolerance.
    Many fraternities and sororities have bullying built into their rushing procedures. Kids sometimes die.
    Cyber bullying has brought a whole new side to bullying and features some of the ugliest ever seen. Kids on the receiving end sometimes commit suicide.
    And yes we have a President who is a bully among bullies.
    Good post, Gerard. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I never understood that all that screaming was supposed to make you stronger or a better soldier. It probably gives the bully some form of gratification. You are right, a young girl committed suicide recently and all of a sudden the issue of cyber bullying has propped up again.
      I still think that our leaders could give a better example, but the system is rooted in being ‘adversarial.’ Antagonism and seeking conflict is a necessary part of the Westminster system, Curt.
      Is that the same in the US? They too seem to be drawn to conflict.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        There have been times when both sides have worked together for the good of the country, Gerard, but those times have become fewer and fewer… almost nonexistent. Ideology and self-interest seem to rule now. There is little compromise. –Curt

        Like

  12. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    The British Public Schools (these are the expensive private schools in Britain) certainly exported bullying as part of their ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ philosophy. Hierarchy in the workplace has, in the past, also been made brutally clear via initiation ceremonies. Behind these, all over the world, is another problem that is slowly being addressed. This is the idea that you cannot be a real man unless you can both take and give ‘toughness’. Men are expected to seek power and demonstrate it, and to fight for their position in the hierarchy, by showing their ‘toughness’. This starts with hitting the weakest – children, and goes from there to women and from there to the less fortunate, or less senior men. Some societies have balanced this unnecessary burden on men better than others – and everyone benefits. I am not for a moment suggesting that there a no bullies or power-hungry women, or bad bad mothers, but the burden to be macho is overwhelmingly placed on men at birth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Perhaps the subject of empathy should be compulsory subject of the curriculum at schools. The internet and its use of pseudonyms is the perfect tool for bullying whereby anonymity is almost honed to perfection.

      We were left an unsigned note at our compound suggesting we should move. Of course neighbours all denied and hid behind anonymity. The subject of why they thought we should move did not come up. That would have left them open for discussion and a possible solution. That did not seem to be their aim which really was getting satisfaction from hurting people.

      Yes, Hillary. The bullying this time came from bitter pale women. But, you are right, on the whole it seems the domain of the macho male.
      For a reason still unsolved I never was drawn to macho. In sport I always ended up with broken glasses and a bleeding nose. It was difficult after arriving here in 1956.
      It seems so long ago now.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Bullying and racism go hand in hand, and the US president personifies both. He mascarades as a strongman, but he is an ambivalent narcissist with no place in the White House. His wife says she will advocate against bullying, but she needs to begin with her husband.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I do hope Trump’s wife will finally lash out or leave him. I can’t imagine any women with self respect sharing a life with him. Can you imagine waking up next to him with all that orange hair jutting out above the Sheridan sheets?
      The horror, the horror!

      Liked by 2 people

  14. rangewriter Says:

    Australia is certainly not alone in this bullying business. It has existed forever in elementary schools. As a kid, I just assumed it was something one had to trudge through. Then American schools began emphasizing “inclusiveness” in an anti bullying campaign. It all sounds so lovely, but I often wonder if enforced inclusiveness didn’t just drive the bullying deeper underground. In colleges, bullying takes the form of sorority and fraternity hazing. Kids are required to do insane things, everything from binge drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning to mandatory gang rape. I don’t get it. But I do think it will only get worse with our orange mop top bully in office.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Parliament in action is a superb lesson in belittling and bullying. And so are some forms of sport. An Australian footballer in a drunken rage assaulted an American family living in New York. He was taken to Court in New York and as a result ordered to pay the couple over a million Dollars in damages. So far he hasn’t paid but is back in Australia playing football again with the blessing of his coach and many football loving patrons.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Removing the wool Says:

    Have a look at another take on it.
    https://removingthewool.wordpress.com/2018/05/05/lets-try-and-end-bullying/
    It is a complicated topic, and I want bullying to end. I think we need to remember that bullying comes in many different form from many different walks of life.

    Like

  16. Dorothy Brett Says:

    The DOROTHY who has contributed is NOT Dorothy Brett.

    Like

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