The knowledge many people have about bullying is based on myths and misunderstandings. These can be dangerous because these attitudes may make you double guess yourself and your reactions to bullying. The following table contains six of the most misconstrued myths about bullying.

‘We don’t have bullying in our school’

Bullying occurs in all schools and to a greater degree than most people realize.

‘You have to learn to stand up for yourself — bullying is character-forming’

This is a dangerous myth, because it suggests that victims of bullying are to blame for being bullied. Bullying is abusive and humiliating.

‘It was just a bit of fun. Can’t you take a joke? Boys will be boys’

A bully should not be allowed to ‘charm’ their way out of the situation. Bullying is not fun and boys demonstrating that they are ‘tough’ should not be accepted.

‘They were asking for it. They got what they deserved’

Bullying is not about justice, rather it is about victimization.

‘Teachers know how to handle bullying. It’s their job’

Being a teacher does not mean they are an expert. Most of the time bullying occurs out of sight and therefore the teachers are not aware of it occurring.

‘Bullies are thick kids from dysfunctional families picking on academic, nerdy kids with glasses’

Bullies and victims come in all shapes and sizes.

References: Sullivan, K. (2000). The anti-bullying handbook. Auckland: Oxford University Press