Last month in Mexico, a seven-years-old Mexican boy returned home after feeling sick during the day at school. What seemed to be just a simple cold turned to be a lung infection and turned into a respiratory failure and then pneumonia. All these complications caused his death. After several investigations, it was concluded that his health problems arose because some older students dipped his face into a toilet in school.
Bullying is one of the mayor concerns among young people in elementary schools and high schools in Mexico and other countries. This phenomenon can be understood as any aggressive, repeated, action or behavior towards someone. This type of relationship includes a power imbalance and consists of attacking physically and/or verbally, using social media and the web, making threats, isolating from a group and/or spreading rumors against a person in particular.
As many other countries in Latin America, Mexico is not excluded from this problem. Last year, five thousand deaths related to bullying attacks were reported in this country, according to the Constitutional Commission of the Senate. Even though we acknowledge this phenomenon as a very serious social problem that affects youth, bullying still happens; with all these precedents, it prompts the question: Are we forgetting about something very important that may help avert this problem of bullying?
There is no one exactly like you in the whole world and this means that you have dignity. Our dignity, then, corresponds to that infinite and endless value that we have just because we exist. Those who engage in bullying usually forget that we can’t all be the same, we are unique, and we are distinguished by our own skills and characteristics. These differences do not mean that we are better or worse than another person. We must remember that our human dignity arises from the internal of ourselves and it is on top of any external appearance or any action against it, such as, bullying.
Many times we forget that we are part of a community and that our thoughts and actions may affect others. Kids who bully do not recognize and accept their own and others value and differences, this is why they engage in this type of aggressive behaviors so easily. Kids that suffer bullying, on the other hand, are vulnerable and are not capable of appreciating their value, as in many cases, they have become so harmed that they are at risk of suffering from anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, poor social self-competence and depression, among others. Regardless of your circumstances, dignity is always inviolable!
Another important element is Family. As we start growing, family becomes our first school, it is in this space where every person, men and women, learn to live in freedom and solidarity with each other. This is how family has a vital role to educate each family member on the infinite value and respect of every person, in order to create stronger families and an integrated society.
Mikhail Bakunin once said, “Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it.” I truly believe that one of the key actions to prevent and stop Bullying that needs to be done is to educate present and future generations on the appreciation of human dignity, that higher value within us. This acknowledgement will lead us to comprehend in a better way how we should treat ourselves and how our relationship with others should be.
To understand and reaffirm dignity in our lives is to fight bullying.
By Kateri Salas, Director of Operations of WAY Latin America.