Research suggests that one of the best ways to stop bullying – whether it’s verbal, physical or cyber – is to report it to school authorities and law enforcement, if appropriate.
But bullying also can be countered by taking the power away from the bully through ignoring the taunts or making a joke out of them. Although this might not change the bully’s behavior, it can take away his or her power.
Cyberbullying has hidden dangers. Although it can occur under the radar of parents and authorities, it can provoke or organize groups of people to get involved in a physical attack. Physical bullying is classified under the law as battery, which is the harmful or offensive touching of another person. If someone physically attacks you, alert school authorities and law enforcement.
Taking a self-defense course is a great way of self-empowerment against bullying. Good self-defense techniques are easy to learn and use. They can help you use verbal tactics to prevent violence and physical techniques to avoid injury.
The most recent and disturbing trend in youth violence is school shootings. Some schools emphasize running away as the best response. While this is a normal reaction, quickly exiting older institutions may be difficult. Another tactic is to cause a flinch response in the attacker by throwing objects at him and then having the closest students tackle and disarm the assailant.
This might actually be less dangerous then turning your back on someone with an assault rifle and giving him more targets.
No school is immune to society’s growing gun violence. When choosing an educational institution, check with the institution’s police department to learn campus safety statistics. This is necessary, because some campus police don’t share their statistics with local law enforcement.
Mugging can occur almost anywhere. When confronted by a mugger, the most effective measure is to drop your wallet or purse. A smart tip is to keep your valuables in a money belt and fill your wallet with dollar bills that stick out. Then, if you’re held up, you can drop it and run away.
When you let someone into your dorm room who becomes “the thing that won’t leave,” use a commanding voice and short sentences, such as: “Please leave now.” If that doesn’t work, throw in a swear word. Some people were raised to believe they could get away with anything until their parents swore at them, which makes this simple strategy surprisingly effective.
If it doesn’t work, however, excuse yourself to the bathroom with your cellphone. Then lock yourself in and call for help. Remember that in Wisconsin, 93 percent of women who are assaulted know their attacker.
Parties can also lead to dangerous situations. Besides date rape drugs, which might even be hidden in ice cubes, alcohol consumption was found to be a factor in 75 percent of sexual assault cases. When you go to a party or bar, go with friends and have specific check-in times to make sure you get back safely.
Before you go out on a date, you might want to check whether your would-be suitor has a criminal record. In Wisconsin, it’s easy to find out by visiting CCAP online at http://wcca.wicourts.gov/index.xsl. Type in your date’s name and, if you have it, his birth date.
Knowledge, as they say, is power.
Wes Manko is a self-defense expert and nationally published author. He owns DEFENSEWORKS, which offers training in self-defense and Russian Martial Art training. For more, go to www.defenseworks.us.