Children witnessing cases of harassment, how to make them brave in the face of this unjust situation

One of the biggest problems when it comes to fighting against bullying It is the fear of consequences if these cases are reported. Not only on the part of the victim, the witnesses who observe how their comrades cross these complaints also fear reprisals if they inform the authorities what they have seen. For this reason we must also inculcate these children the need to fight against these injustices.

Make them brave so they do not leave their peers alone before these hard times. Therefore, the Ministry of Education of the Community of Madrid takes into account the figure of the witness to fight against bullying in the classroom. A way to break this fear that makes so many cases are hidden from the authorities and can not end them.

The witness is also involved

In this anti-bullying program it is made clear that the witness is also involved in the case of bullying, although not as an active subject. It is true that those who witness these events are not victims or aggressors, but they have very important information that could lead to the end of this harassment. This publication distinguishes two figures according to the role they assume:

- Active witnesses. They encourage and support aggressors, do not participate in the case of harassment but encourage them to remain

- Passive witnesses. They do not participate or even harangue the aggressor to follow, but they do not tell anyone what they have seen, making the case of harassment invisible.

Both papers assume that the victim of the harassment continues to suffer its consequences. Therefore, the response of the witnesses in the first place must be of rejection towards the aggressors, not encourage them or laugh at the jokes against their comrades. In the second place, he must take an active attitude and inform teachers and other authorities, break with the Law of Silence.

A change of attitude that should involve parents and teachers. Both figures must show that they are the authority. As much as the aggressor may try to retaliate against the witness who has made the case known, these entities will prevent him from achieving this objective. In the same way, the anonymity of the person who has disclosed this information should be assured to protect it and give a bonus when it comes to encouraging reporting.

Consequences of not reporting

The result of report it is the investigation and the end of the school bullying case, as well as preventive measures while throwing light on the case. Similarly, not to inform the authorities also has consequences for the witness and the environment in which it operates: the school.

The Community of Madrid emphasizes that although for witnesses these consequences are not so evident, they can lead to an attitude indifferent and even complacent in the face of injustice and a wrong modeling of personal worth. At the same time in these minors can be a distancing of their friends, potential victims, that isolates them socially.

In addition, allowing the harasser to continue acting for not having reported this situation may mean that in the long run the witness becomes victim. A potential consequence that not only affects this minor, but any other that may become the new victim in the long term.

Damián Montero

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