Mobbing is group bullying. It is ganging up on someone using the tactics of rumor, innuendo, discrediting, isolating, intimidating, and above all, making it look as if the targeted person is responsible. As is typical of many abusive situations, the perpetrators maintain that the victim ‘deserved it.’
This term may be new to you but I’m sure you quickly recognize the behavior. If you are familiar with Stephen King’s “Carrie”, Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”, or if you saw the movie “Dead Poet’s Society”, you have seen examples of mobbing and what it can do.
Though the subject of books, plays, and movies, mobbing behavior is not fictional. This is real. Mobbing has a devastating effect on everyone it touches and has a ripple effect upon other people, their families, their communities and society at large. It contributes to isolation, physical or mental illness, depression, violent or self-destructive behavior, and mistrust. The targeted person may act inappropriately due to prolonged extreme stress.
Everyone saw bullies picking on kids in the school yard while we were growing up. This behavior has contributed to many acts of school violence, yet no one in the United States really paid much attention to it until recently. Though mobbing and bullying in schools has been going on for many years, children were not bringing weapons to school and murdering each other. It is amazing that we have been in such denial that we had to be told the obvious out loud before anyone would take action. In this case, someone had to die and a finger directly pointed at this type of behavior before anyone would pay real attention to this issue.
The response to potential violence is often more reactive than proactive. Instead of creating awareness and promoting dignity and respect for all people, security systems and surveillance cameras are installed. Stiffer gun control laws are suggested. The plain truth is that many people are walking around with a deep anger inside of them and don’t know why. I believe that one of the reasons is because so many have been treated like objects rather than as unique human beings for too long.
We don’t have to wait until violence erupts to take action. The violence that is showcased in the media is extreme. What isn't reported is much more pervasive. Some are afraid of riding the school bus. Some are afraid to say something because they fear retaliation. Some are excluded and humiliated. Just because a person isn’t ‘beaten up’ … doesn’t mean they aren’t beaten up inside.
All you have to do is open the newspaper or turn on the evening news to know that we’re on a collision course with something extremely unpleasant if we don’t start changing the way we treat each other. Our children follow and expand upon the example we set for them.
Insight and awareness play a major role in change. So many people engage in this type of behavior without thinking. Prevention includes paying attention not only to what we’re doing but also to what is going on around us. Most people don’t intentionally abuse someone
I invite you to join me in an effort to spread awareness and to help our young people. Treating others with dignity and respect or not doing so, impacts the future for all of us.
Speaker, Author, Trainer and Consultant, graduate of Penn State University, post-graduate education certificate work at the University of South Florida, member of American Mensa, Member of the American Society for Training and Development, is founder of Innovations “Training With A Can-Do Attitude” , located in central Iowa.
Gail is author of the book School Mobbing and Emotional Abuse: See It – Stop It – Prevent It with Dignity and Respect, “Food For Thought”, a column that is distributed internationally by email and is often reprinted in various publications, and co-author of the book Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, Her articles have appeared not only in printed media, but some can be viewed on the Internet on such sites as the Iowa Business Network, TopAchievement.com, Motivating Moments, and LivingLifeFully.com She has created mobbing awareness posters for both schools and workplaces, inspirational posters, dignity and respect T-shits, and writes and designs training, motivation, and inspirational materials,Gail has over 20 years of professional experience in administration, recruitment, training, and motivation.
Operating from the basic premise that ‘all people want and have the right to be treated with dignity and respect … no exceptions’ she travels nationally to conduct staff and supervisory training for both profit and not-for-profit organizations and a see-it/stop-it/prevent-it approach to emotional abuse in schools and workplaces.
She designs sessions upon request to address specific needs and timely issues, and is a featured speaker at conferences as well as a sought after media expert on workplace and school violence.
Gail has been a guest on such programs as MSNBC’s Deborah Norville Tonight, ABC World News Now television programs and the Workplace Violence Today program on talk radio.