Like domestic violence and teen dating violence, bullying is an attempt by one person to gain dominance or control over another. Typically, bullying is repeated over time. It may involve physical aggression such as shoving or kicking, verbal aggression such as name calling, or more indirect acts such as spreading rumors, deliberate social isolation, or using e-mail and web sites to bully or harass others.
Studies show that between 15-25 percent of students in the United States are bullied with some frequency. Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to be depressed, anxious, lonely, feel unwell, have low self-esteem and think about suicide (Limber, 2002; Olweus, 1993). Bullies are five times more likely to become adult criminals than nonbullies. Bullying also affects other students who are bystanders to bullying, creating a climate of fear and disrespect in schools and having a negative impact on learning.
There are clear links between bullying and domestic violence – both involve an abuse of power. Children who grow up in homes with domestic violence may learn that it is acceptable to be abusive and that violence is an effective way to get what you want, including by bullying. As in domestic violence, the bully blames the victim or target for the abuse, which often leads to the target blaming him or herself for the abuse.