I. What is bullying?

Common Definitions:

"A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.” (Olweus, D., 2001)


“…a negative action when someone intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict injury or discomfort upon another…” where the oppressor has power or strength over his/her victim and this behavior is repeated over time. (Olweus, D., 1993)


"Bullying is the willful, conscious desire to hurt another and put him/her under stress." (Tattum, D & Tattum, E., 1992)


Bullying is "repeated oppression, psychological or physical, of a less powerful person by a more powerful person". (Farrington, D.P. 1993)


These definitions include three important components:

1.      Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions. The behavior is purposeful: a bully uses various means to intentionally hurt, harm, or damage his target physically, socially, relationally, and/or emotionally.

2.      Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength. The imbalance of power can be physical, psychological, or factual making it difficult for the victim to defend himself/herself.

3.      Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time. It is continual, happens repeatedly over time either in a consistent or random pattern.

II. Types of Bullying

Bullying can take on many forms. Olweus (2001) identified nine ways of bullying:

1.      Verbal bullying which includes derogatory comments and bad names

2.      Bullying through social exclusion, rejection, or isolation

3.      Physical bullying such as shoving, tripping, spitting, hitting, and kicking

4.      Bullying through gossip, lies, and false rumors

5.      Having material possessions taken or damaged by bullies

6.      Being threatened or being forced to do things that are harmful or humiliating

7.      Racial or ethnic bullying

8.      Sexual or sexual orientation bullying

9.      Cyber bullying such as using email, videos, cell phones, or other social media websites to harm or humiliate


III. Impact of Bullying

Victims of bullying can experience wide-ranging and long-term effects. Some of those effects are as follows:

  • Depression

  • Higher levels of anxiety and fear

  • Anger

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness

  • Low self-esteem

  • Social withdrawal and difficulty trusting people

  • Increased alcohol or drug use

  • Health problems

  • Higher class absenteeism

  • Poor grades

  • Decreased sense of belongingness

  • Trouble developing long-term relationships

  • Suicidal thoughts


IV. How can you get help?


If you experience bullying or any other type of violence due to your sexual orientation there are a number of things you can do to get the help you need…


If you are at immediate risk of physical harm because of bullying:

  • (Geneseo Off-campus) Call Police 911

  • (Geneseo On-campus) Call University Police (585) 245-5222


If you are experiencing the effects of bullying and need to talk:

  • Call Counseling Services (585) 245-5716

  • Call 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386) Find more information at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

  • Call GLBT Hate Crimes Hotline at 1-800-686-HATE (4283)

  • Call the National LGBT Youth Hotline at 1-800-246-PRIDE (7743)

  • Call Peer Listening Line for LGBT Youth at 1-800-399-PEER (7337)

  • Call LYRIC Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-7743


If you are considering suicide or need help:

  • (Geneseo Off-campus) Call Police 911

  • (Geneseo On-campus) Call University Police (585) 245-5222

  • Call College at Geneseo Counseling Services (585) 245-5716

  • Call 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386) or find more information at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or TTY at 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)


Reach out tell someone you trust what you are going through. Talking to someone could provide you with support and help you figure out the best way to deal with the bullying.


V. How can friends and allies help?

It can be difficult to know how to help when someone you know tells you she/he has been harassed or bullied. Yet, you might be one of the few people who your friend has trusted with the information about this type of abuse. The following strategies are meant to help you feel better prepared to support someone you care about who has experienced bullying. Remember they are just guidelines and not all will be useful for all situations.

1.      It is often quite difficult for someone to disclose that they have been the victims of bullying or prolonged harassment. When your friend discloses this type of experience he or she is going to be afraid about how you are going to react. Listen carefully and be accepting and supportive, avoid judging, this will help facilitate the healing process. 


2.      Find out whether your friend feels safe where she/he lives. Offer her/him a place to stay if you can.  If you are unable to provide them with shelter, help your friend identify other safe places to stay until they can figure out how to handle the situation. It is sometimes difficult to be alone after a traumatic experience. Ask your friend if your presence would be helpful.


3.      Sometimes people that have experienced bullying feel that they are somehow to blame for what happened. Remind them that the responsibility lies with the bully and that this was not her/his fault.


4.      Be prepared to give your friend information about resources for medical care, counseling, advocacy, and for making a report to police and/or campus officials. Information on these resources can be found in the above section. Help them contact a third party if she/he does not feel that she/he can do it alone.


5.      If a friend has experienced bullying then she/he has been subjected to the loss of personal control. It is important to give your friend that power back by allowing her/him to make important choices about how to handle the situation. Listen and offer ideas but avoid being overprotective or making important decisions for your friend. When appropriate provide your friend with messages to uplift the mood and to restore the self-esteem.


6.      Be available when you have offered your time. Be patient with your friend. Be understanding of your friend’s experience and her/his changing needs.


7.      Remember to take care of yourself. It is normal and natural that you will be impacted by the trauma experienced by your friend.  You will likely have your own emotions about the event such as sadness, anger, fear, and/or confusion. Remember to take time for yourself, engage in activities that are soothing and nurturing to you, and seek support when you need it.


This section was adapted from Supporting a Survivor of Sexual Assault by the University of Florida


VI. Other Resources

http://www.stopbullying.gov/topics/lgbt/resources/index.html Government website dedicated to the prevention of bullying

http://www.glma.org/ The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/beyond-bullying Human Right Campaign resource for dealing with bullying

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/cyber-bullying-and-the-lgbt-community Another Human Right Campaign resource for dealing with bullying

http://www.suicide.org/bullying-and-suicide-information.html: Bullying and Suicide Information, article by Kevin Caruso

http://www.itgetsbetter.org/ A site that show what is like to live openly as LGBT adult

http://aacap.org/ More information about bullying

http://www.nasponline.org/ Facts about bullying for parents