Violence Never Gets Better Until You Bump Back

The one minute drill on my high school in New Zealand in 1983… All boys school. Each year had classes streamed in order from highest to lowest of academic potential… i.e. smartest kids in the top class with electives like physics, economics, accounting and languages… and dumbest kids in the lowest class with electives like woodshop and thuggery. Middle school in NZ tends to be two years long – Form One and Two. High school is five years long – Forms Three through Seven.

So when you start high school, you start in Form Three… aka… Third Form… aka Turd Form.

Which makes you… a turd.

Anyway…

I was in class S3A… the top class of the nine Third Form classes. I say this to brag and to explain what comes next.

Being in the top class means expectations are high… and every single one of my six teachers gave us the “Welcome to high school, we’re going to break your will to live” supply of homework.

I mean a ridiculous amount of homework.

I remember going home and starting on all this homework and by some time past 10pm I had completed five of the six classes of homework and I just gave up in frustration and exhaustion. I just couldn’t do my science homework. It was just impossible to get it all done.

Turns out skipping the science homework was a bad choice.

Me and another five other boys, were taken out into the hall by Mr. Renyolds and caned.

Now in fairness, mum and dad had collected me for a spanking once in a while, so the concept of physical punishment wasn’t beyond my experience, but I’d always at least done something wrong related to whatever was coming. But I’d never been physically punished in school. I’d seen and heard the greatly feared the strap  at St. Marks, but it was always someone else who deserved it. Except for that one time there was no teacher in the class for ages and we all got noisy and Mr. Huckleberry the Assistant Headmaster burst into the room and just bitchslapped poor Fortios for the crime of being the one sitting closest to the door… SLAP!

Thirty intakes of breath followed by the most. awkward. silence. ever.

Mr. Huckleberry kind of stammered out an apology “I shouldn’t have done that” and quickly left the class.

As far as I know, no one said anything to anyone. I don’t think a parent was told. I don’t think a teacher was told. The next day it was like nothing had happened.

No one told.

Oh… yeah… missed my science homework, lined up outside, bend over and touch your toes.

Mr. Renyolds coming down the line…

Crack! Five boys left.

Well I guess science was the wrong one to miss.

Crack! Four boys left.

This is so unfair, there was no way to do all that homework.

Crack! Three boys left.

I can’t believe this is happening to me.

Crack! Two boys left.

Holy fuck I have to do this.

Crack!

Fuck you ,you fucking asshole. Fuck you forever. I fucking hate you and I hope you fucking die like a fucking fuck.

Then I went back inside and we had science class.

Now…

Let me explain what I would have done differently if I could go back and relive that moment…

I’d hit him back. As hard as I could.

Remember, I’d be twelve years old at that point, 90 pounds soaking wet, like 4’10″ or something, facing off a grown man with a six foot long cane. I’m not actually a threat to him.

But I don’t have to win. I just have to prove I’m always going to hit back, no matter what, no matter the odds, everytime like a crazy motherfucker who doesn’t give a shit. Tit for tat baby. You do X, don’t wonder Y.

You see if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have spent the next four years of my life being the target for bullies. That finished with me getting clubbed in the face with a cricket bat and having to actually have a fistfight to defend myself during english class. A fight I actually lost… but I never was directly picked on again. Because I finally hit back.

So…

Why am I telling you all this?

Well maybe I’m cynical, but I think violence is the most awesome problem solving tool. Hitting someone beats talk every. single. time.

You simply cannot have a rational debate with someone who is prepared to be violent, when they know you aren’t prepared to be violent. Your options are either verbal agreement to what they want, or getting hit. It’s a fabulous behavioral modification tool. Mr. Renyolds was an asshole, but I never did miss an assignment after that.

There are only two solutions to dealing with violent people you’re in a permanent relationship with. (1) Smashing them back harder than they can hit you, or at least making the situation risky enough that they figure you aren’t worth the effort and they move on to a softer target, or (2) having outside use of force come and do it for you.

i.e. have the cops come in and cuff them, cart them away and have the law, courts and jails do what they have to.

I really do mean call the cops and make a report. If someone wants to use violence as a tool, greater use of force is the only thing that they understand. I’ve had to deal with psychotic patients in community settings and it’s utterly remarkable how quickly they stop wanting to beat on their roommates and smash windows as soon as the police arrive. There’s just something about a tazer that makes most crazy people instantly polite and cooperative. I’ve also seen remarkable long term behavioral improvements after court appearances, dwarfing the effects of medications and other behavioral programming.

This simply isn’t a gender issue either. If you’re being hit, you’re being hit. The main difference between men and women being violent is when push really comes to shove, women have to weaponize or do it while the husband is sleeping. Not advising things here, just stating the obvious.

Should a situation become unsafe, start videoing them, dial 911 and defend yourself / get to as safe a location as you can. Your safety is always your priority over what happens to them when the police arrive. Violent people simply don’t stop using violence as a solution if it’s getting them what they want. They only become progressively more violent until you get greater force involved to stop them. This is why police, courts, laws and jails exist…so we don’t all get caught up in a game of He Dead, She Dead.

Or even more cynically in the vein of “screenshot or it didn’t happen”.

Make a police report or it didn’t happen.

Mr. Huckleberry never hit Fortios because no one said anything.

Catching up… New Zealand did make corporal punishment in schools illegal in 1984, so I got my caning… er… just in time.

As to Mr. Renyolds… I don’t know, I transfered to another high school for a fresh start for Seventh Form. Something I’m grateful to my parents for. I did hear a rumor that during that year one of the boys collected Mr. Renyolds with a one punch KO in the hall. Don’t know who did it… but thanks.

Comments

  1. Instead of rolling emerald hills and Hobbits, I now picture NZ as Detroit with an accent.

    And a complicated education system.

  2. This valuable lesson is one that my biological father taught me as well. He was always kind of an ass, and once I was old enough to understand much of anything, I could tell that he was more interested in making a lot of unreasonable requests and throwing temper tantrums than he was being a father. I put up with the yelling, mistreatment, and abuse of my mother, sister, and myself until I was around 12 yrs old. There was one particular day that he seemed to snap, and he broke my glasses, and was banging my head against the wall. He was more of a bully than a brute force, but I decided enough was enough, and I gave him everything I had. I ended up laying on the floor crying with blood gushing out of his nose, and that was the last time a hand was laid on anyone in my household. When he would yell at my mom I would stand between them and tell him if he wanted to yell at someone, he could yell at me, and he would always back away after that. The funny thing about the whole story, was we grew up in a small town, and our extended family owned some businesses, so we were fairly well known. I was also a 4.0 student, 3 sport athlete, so I was fairly well known…. He tried to press charges with the police, and the story got back that they told him it looked like he got what he deserved….

  3. Typo, he ended up laying on the floor crying, I walked away highly annoyed….

  4. bored guy says:

    I know this post is mostly about physical violence but I wonder can the advice be extended to emotional violence as well? For example, the bpd-like crazies who never let you relax, the next “wrong” thing you will do or say is always just around the corner. Would it be possible to let them have their own medicine by really embracing one’s sociopathic side (assuming it is strong enough) or something and stringing them along, deliberately doing what sets them off just to be a dick? Then after the fight begins, they assume you are sitting there all baffled by their silence and tricks while you just laugh silently at their predictable behavior. After make up, rinse and repeat. Randomly like they do.

  5. Have you seen the ridiculous nonsense the govt is peddling at stopbullying.gov?

    http://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/what-you-can-do/index.html#bullied

    They should call the page, “How to be a p*ssy and get the sh!t beaten out of you every day.”

  6. Fighting back solved all my problems back in Primary School, I just wish I did it more when I was in Secondary.

  7. Akatsukami says:

    Which is, of course, what “white knighting” is all about.

  8. misty's dad says:

    Bullies always pick soft, easy targets.

    The way to deal with a bully is to stop being passive. You may end up beaten down but you are no longer soft or easy.

    Today’s feminized, anti-male world teaches those being bullied that the answer is to roll over and become a softer, easier target that runs to inneffectice authority

  9. misty's dad says:

    (Cont)
    Figures.

    The result is more intense bullying, followed by more intense emotional problems for the victims. The vicims of bullying are trapped in the blue pill nightmareof being told their solution is something that is actually increasing the problem. The result is responding with hyper violent behavior (weapons) or suicide.

  10. Sherlock says:

    Off topic but just had to share this as ..uhm inspiration?… to those working on kegels:

    http://www.counselheal.com/articles/4276/20130308/russian-gymnast-worlds-strongest-vagina.htm

  11. The head teacher at my old school was a caning bastard until they banned it. One night a group of old boys set on him and kicked the shit out of him. After he found what it was like to be on the other end of a fucking beating he just had to take he lost his taste for hitting other people. Apparantly he lived in fear of it happening again. Who says physical punishment don’t have long term effect on behaviour lol!

  12. All right, if we are making sweeping generalizations out of our experiences with bullies in our youth, I’ll give you mine. I was bullied severely in 7th and 8th grade. People (both adults and other kids) told me over and over again.

    “They’re bullies. If you just stand up to them they will leave you alone”.

    So the next time. I hit back. Got the crap beat out of me. The next day it happened again. They bullied. I fought back. Got the crap beat out of me.

    On and on it went. I fought back and refused to back down, the bullying got worse and worse. It almost became a sport for them. Some light recreation and entertainment by pushing around a smaller guy and then beating the crap out of him. They would even take turns.

    Fighting back and standing up to them did not make the bullying stop. It made it noticeably and progressively worse. Meanwhile I was getting more and more depressed because not only was I getting regular beatings but the only advice that everybody gave me was having the exact opposite result.

    I’m glad it worked out for you Athol. In my case it made the situation far, far worse. I think the whole ” stand up to bullies and they’ll leave you alone” mantra is the biggest load of horse crap ever invented.

    I think it is a myth, and a dangerous one at that. I wish people would stop perpetuating it.

  13. milf_in_training says:

    I was all prepared to argue with you, Athol, until I read:
    “(2) having outside use of force come and do it for you.
    i.e. have the cops come in and cuff them, cart them away and have the law, courts and jails do what they have to.”

    And then I realized, I did exactly what you said.

    I had enough, and I was scared to go up against my bully/husband, who was far stronger than me. So I called on my enforcer: the court system and police, and he was served with a restraining order that day.

    I still don’t think responding to violence with violence, or to insanity with insanity is the best course, but it can be the only effective way to make the hurt stop.

  14. if my sons were doing homework until 10 at night I’d go up to the school and have it out with the teachers. it’s a ludicrous amount of homework. can’t understand why any parents would tolerate it.

  15. Interesting reading for those so inclined to learn about violence:

    http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/violence.htm

    A book I recommend for men and boys of any age:

    http://www.amazon.com/Little-Black-Book-Violence-Fighting/dp/1594391297

  16. Oh and for good measure this is a must read:

    Anger and Violence

    http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/anger.htm

    An excerpt:

    ” Stop and consider what we just said. Odds are what you think of as ‘violence,’ is more the threat display stage that escalates into a blow or two. To you, that is the extreme. What we are saying is there exists an even greater extreme beyond that phase. “I was so angry I could have killed him” is hyperbole. In this extreme, you don’t talk about it, you do it.

    What the average person doesn’t understand is exactly how fast a violent person can get to the further extreme. He does this by, in essence, skipping the middle part. Instead of yelling, screaming and making threat displays he immediately goes to throwing you a beating … or worse. In his skewed perception, not killing you IS the middle stage. Beating you to a pulp is his version of a warning. “

  17. Alkalannar says:

    I had something similar happen in middle school, though in my case it was from classmates rather than teachers.

    Then two incidents happened in short succession: 1) someone laid hands on me from behind as I was walking down the hallway. Without breaking stride, or looking to see who it was, I simply turned and slammed him, hard, into the lockers, and kept going. Didn’t know, didn’t care. 2) Someone ended up picking a fight with me (to my face), and I clotheslined him. One hit and he was down.

    Never had anyone physically pick on me again.

  18. Weston,
    Sounds like you needed to make some friends and get bigger and tougher… If you can’t beat them up yourself, you have to have the charisma to find someone or a group that can…. The “solution” in your situation was to lift weights, play a sport, and make friends that would stand by you. I got bullied in junior high, and I mostly took it, but in high school if I was going to get my ass kicked (It’s usually obvious) I would avoid the fight and back down, but if you are on the football/wrestling team, etc the pool of people that are willing to mess with you and your friends gets increasingly small. You might not solved the problem the first year, but a year in the weight room or karate lessons solves a lot of problems…

  19. @Weston

    You need to read this:
    http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/bullies.htm

  20. crazivan498 says:

    Never call the cops. Its one of Lew rockwells rules. Cops are not interested in the truth. There questions tserve one purpose. Make you confess to a crime. Fuck the police

  21. Chuck,
    You are so right. I was bullied in grades 6-8. What stopped it when I got to high school? Two things, In high school I played football and wrestled. Anybody with half a brain knows you don’t fuck with the wrestlers. Wrestlers are used to lots of, often violent, physical contact, aren’t afraid in the least of a bloody nose and are in serious physical shape. The other things was I grew. Not much you can do about the height, but I added 50 pounds of muscle in 4 years. By the time I graduated I was 6’4″ and was 190 pounds of solid muscle. People left me alone.

  22. Random Angeleno says:

    I was a shrimp in elementary and jr high school, we are talking 2nd or 3rd smallest boy in the class every year. So I had some episodes. But I fought back every time. As opposed to weston above, I was fast, athletic and mean on the field or the court. So I had an avenue for getting respect and keeping it. Looking back, that helped a lot.

    From those experiences, I’ve always understood that there is a time and a place for getting violent, for returning violence with violence rather than walking away. Thankfully that is really rare as I don’t invite it let alone instigate it. But I can still do it if I have to. The interesting part is making eye contact with other men who understand the same thing, don’t mess with me, I won’t mess with you, instant respect and the courtesies extended to each other on that basis. Something that women will never get.

  23. Weston, you are quite literally the first person I have ever, in my entire life, come across that had an experience like yours. In every other case, either hitting the bully where he lives or getting some friends together and making an object lesson out of the bully took care of the problem.

    What would you suggest, then? In your case, it sounds like damned if you did nothing, damned if you did something. Better to die on your feet, I suppose.

  24. I saw stuff like what Weston describes quite a lot. Little kids what was never ever gonna be bigger stronger or tougher enough to do any more than raise dust, and was never popular enough to get any one to help.

    90% of the time it ended with them so beaten down they gave up. They couldn’t raise thereselves enough to have one more go. Fuck only knows what mental trouble they have now. In the other ten percent it turned into using bits of lead pipe, shivs or in one case a lump of wood studded with four inch nails. And guess who ended up with the criminal record? Not the bully, thats for sure.

    Hitting back works well, and gives good service if you can get it to work with out super escalation.

  25. Jonathan says:

    I ought to share this for …. Laughs?

    I grew up physically behind (I looked 11 when I was 18) had a smart mouth that made bullies cry, wore hearing aids, glasses, got straight As and was a Jehovah’s Witness. I’m not sure what else I could have been or done that would have made me a more inviting target for bullies.

    But I oddly was never in a fight, or got beat up. Except for once, almost.

    What worked for me? Any time I was challenged, I would just state in a matter-of-fact way, “Aw c’mon, I don’t have time to be suspended, and I have an easier way you can prove you’re tougher than me, since that’s what this is really about. Get me a piece of paper and a pen, and I’ll write ‘(Insert name here is tougher than me, and I freely admit he could thoroughly beat me up in a fight.’ And then I’ll sign it, and you can show it to whoever you like! anybody who asks, or whatever, just show ‘em the paper! Deal?”

    This was invariably followed by a long silence, as they tried to process what just happened, then they laughed, slapped me on the shoulders, and said, “you’re cool, you’re pretty funny! Tell you what, anybody picks on you, tell me and I’ll beat ‘em up for you…”

    I never had to write out one of those “I’m a wimp” papers, and I never had to take them up on their offer to beat up anybody (I wouldn’t have anyways). Why? This approach worked, every. Single. Time. In different schools, cities. It didn’t matter.

    But if I was verbally attacked, I had them pegged and would just explain to the audience that gathers round on such occasions what their mental and psychological issues were and what was wrong with their family life, and they would run away crying.

    The real secret here is perspective. I had realized really early on that I could care less what others thought of me, since there was no making people happy with the cards I got dealt.

    MGTOW at six FTW… Still walking.

    Jonathan

  26. There are many ways to deal with violence – and yes I’ve heard wacking back has helped a number of people. However, there are ways to gain safety and peace without returning violence. I wrote a post on my successful way of handling an abusive spouse . I’ve since left him, something I should have done a long time ago, but the process of learning and asserting myself was very important to my self development. :-) C

  27. BTW – 20 August 2011 if you want to read it. :-)

  28. thehap – Kind of stunned that I’m the only person you’ve heard from that had my kind of experience. As Chimpy mentioned in his comment this is very much a recurring pattern.I remember reading an article many years ago that found that having the bullied “stand up” to the bully was not supported as an effective solution by the empirical data collected by the researchers.

    It just makes sense to me. Guys in particular have been told for decades, if not centuries, to stand up to bullies yet bullying continues to remain an extreme and pervasive problem.

    Since you asked what I “would suggest”. I think that many anti-bullying programs are on the right track but are still in their infancy regarding effectiveness. Of the cornerstones of those programs 2 seem to make the most sense to me. Putting more of the focus on the bully. They are the ones with the more serious pathology and they are the ones who need psychological intervention even more than the bullied. Training and support for peers/bystanders. Bullies don’t do this shit in front of authority figures, but they are happy to have an audience of other kids. Programs that teach other kids that they need to have the courage to speak up for the bullied is a good thing. I think it is particularly effective if such training is focused on student athletes. If just one or two of the football players in my Junior High let the bullies know (even without explicit threat) that it was not acceptable, I believe it would have stopped or severely reduced.

  29. In addition to the above. I wanted to respond to a few of the other suggestions.

    Get Tougher… I regularly got the crap kicked out of me for almost 2 years and continued to fight back. How much tougher did you want me to be? How tough would you be under the same circumstances?

    Get Bigger… I started lifting weights religiously when the trouble started. My parents also signed me up for karate lessons. You know what you get when you’re 4′ 11″ 100 lbs and you fight back against guys a foot taller and 70 lbs heavier? You get a short, well muscled guy who knows karate having the crap kicked out of him by guys who were way out his league physically. You’ll have to forgive me for shouting but…ARE YOU GUYS SOMEHOW UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT BULLY’S WILL REGULARLY TORMENT GUYS WHO ARE BIGGER THEN THEM OR EVEN APPROXIMATELY THE SAME SIZE? Hell no. They go after the little guy. The fat kid. Even the mentally challenged.

    Have more friends…A more valid point than any of the above suggestions. I wish I had far better social skills at that age. However, it is also important to keep in mind that the bullied tend to be social pariahs in Junior High just as a result of being bullied. While getting a support group of friends would be doable for the bullied, it is still difficult.

    Join a sports team….The only school sports team that was feasible for a guy my size (absent exceptional athletic skills) was tennis or wrestling (and maybe baseball). I did wrestle in high school (115 lbs) and was rather good at it. By that point however the bullying had already eased up for reasons completely unrelated to my being on the team. Wrestling was not available as a sport in my Junior High.

    A couple of other points…

    1. We sure sound like a bunch of middle class guys (myself included). My wife spent 6 years teaching in an inner city middle school (grades 6 through 8). In that school if you stood up to any of a legion of bullies you didn’t have to worry about getting a beating. You had to worry about getting knifed or a “drive by” during your walk home from school. Stand up to bullies? Those kids only stood up to bullies if they belonged to a street gang. Otherwise they would end up in the hospital or morgue. I suppose I should count my blessings that I was bullied in a middle class town.

    Being bullied in school has a particular set of unique problems. You have to be there. If you are bullied on the street, or at a club, or on a playground if you choose you can retreat and avoid. In school you are required by law to go back for more of the same.

    If you want to know what actually eventually made things better? Probably a bunch of things. Time. Maybe some maturity on the part of the bullies. Maybe one or two of the other observing kids having the guts to tell the bully that it wasn’t cool what he was doing. The bullies finding other, easier victims (in my high school it was the mentally challenged kids being “mainstreamed” into our school). Probably a lot of things. Most of which I had little or no control over.

    But I do know for sure what did not work. Standing up to the bullies. That was without question the worst childhood advice I ever got. And no one is ever going to convince me that my experience was an exception or aberration.

  30. Its allus worth remembering that unless the little bloke is EXTREMELY good, the big bloke will beat the little bloke 95+% of the time.

  31. I'm a man says:

    I went to this camp where there was a tradition of the councilors having a hell day against the campers…I was about 12. Kids started freaking out in anticipation of this day. One kid with asthma had a full blown asthma attack before anything even started. Kids were getting their heads shoved down the holes in the outhouse, all sorts of fun pranks etc.

    My number came up and two guys pushed me to my knees and held me down while the third guy unzipped and moved his cock in for a shine….I started laughing and said that was the smallest cock I’d ever seen! Luckily that ended it and he quickly zipped back up. I was left alone after that.

  32. Weston,
    I am sorry for what you went through, and I really wish we lived in a society where things like that didn’t happen… I can tell I struck a nerve, and that wasn’t my intention… A little background on myself, in junior high I was a super nerd, brown plastic glasses, dorky clothes, very few friends, low socio-economic status, pimpled face, 4.0 grades, couldn’t do a pull up or play any sport…. I grew up in a small town that was predominantly caucasion. My situation led to a couple things, I was bullied/ picked on, and I couldn’t get any girl remotely interested in me…I was about 5″5″ 115 lbs pudgy. When I was small, weak, had no friends, and was confident I would get my ass kicked, I didnt really give bullies push back, I just walked away, and learned to avoid the situation. But I stored how I was treated in the back of my head, and I studied the “popular” kids to see what traits they exhibited so I could achieve that for myself. Being bullied and socially rejected were my motivating factors for self-improvement. Frankly, I never got to popular status, but I did lift weights, put on a lot of muscle, and end up starting on the football and wrestling team. When I was bullied early in high school, I picked the fights I would win and won them. If you beat a couple people up the legend grows not to mess with you. Keep in mind, I never started a fight, or went looking for one… By the time I was 5’7″ 145 lbs and was playing football and wrestling women were interested in me and the bullying almost completely stopped. My goal was to have a greater level of life success than any of my bullies, and that’s what I focused my energy on… As far as the inner city school example goes, it sounds like the situation is beyond the scope of any individual. When you are at war with an enemy, you need to bring bigger numbers, better training, better weapons, and better resolve. If you have a gang picking on a single innocent person the only solution is to bring in a bigger force (ie police or it could be a well organized militia) to incarcerate or kill every member of the gang and keep the cycle up until gangs that go around killing innocent people no longer exist. There is probably some value in finding the underlying cause of gang formation and trying to fix that too….

  33. Chuck

    Not a problem. I am touchy on this issue but it wasn’t necessarily triggered by you.

    It really is amazing.
    I’m a 58 year old grandfather. An expert in my field and financially successful. Four beautiful, highly successful daughters, raised in a big fancy house in one of the wealthiest towns in America. I don’t doubt for a second that I have had ” a greater level of life success than any of my bullies” by a wide, wide margin.

    Yet this topic just immediately transports me back to that 12 year old kid who would feel physically sick each school day. Partly because he knew it was unavoidable that he had to go to school to get his ass kicked…. but mostly because it must somehow be his fault.

    Because everybody knows “if you stand up to a bully they’ll leave you alone.”

  34. Weston,

    yes, it sounds like you are doing great in life! if I wasn’t already married I would ask you more questions about those daughters…(assuming they are old enough) j/k

    The key to defeating terrorists or bullies is that you can’t let them psychologically control you. You just have to rechannel the negative impact they can possibly have on your life into motivation for success. You have to look at what they did as a favor in shaping you into be a better and more compassionate man that you are today. I hold no grudges against anyone in my childhood, they were just immature human beings trying to find their way in the world as I was.
    I do hold adults, especially adults over 30, to a much higher standard though. In my eyes if you hit the age of 30, and are still out there bullying or taking advantage of the innocence of others you are probably a lost cause that should just be cast off into an abyss. 12-13 yr old children just don’t have the right leadership examples of parents at home if they are acting up….

  35. Interesting post. As a general rule, I agree but there are always exceptions, as noted by several comments above.

    The answer for people like Weston and others in his predicament is a simple one, and is clearly laid out in his own words.

    Being bullied in school has a particular set of unique problems. You have to be there. If you are bullied on the street, or at a club, or on a playground if you choose you can retreat and avoid. In school you are required by law to go back for more of the same.

    Abolish public schooling.

    That is the general principle.

    The bullying culture is the result of warehousing boys against their will in a place most of them don’t want to be at their age.

    More specifically until that day arrives, get the hell out of school. Unless you live in Germany where home schooling is illegal, there are a plethora of alternatives.

    As for the police, if you need help from a outside source, remove yourself from the situation first. Document everything if you can. Then call the police as a last resort. Generally I would say forget the police, but if that is all you can do to salvage the situation, then do so as a last resort. But be careful. The police aren’t your friends, and you may get hurt in the process as well

  36. Oh and I would add never bump back with the genuinely crazy. I don’t mean someone who has been certified mentally out of it, but rather someone who has a reputation not for being a bully but being crazy. Like getting into a fight with someone on an inner city basketball court, whipping his butt, only to have him go home and bring back a gun and shoot you and several other people. I have known that to happen in several very nice big cities.

    As with all things, you have to weigh the risks against the rewards.

  37. This is a great post, but I think people are missing a crucial point. (IMO) It is not enough to just stand up. You have to win. In what ever form that takes. You personally out fight the bully. You have your friends do it. You get the cops to arrest them. You get some one bigger, more powerful ( teachers, groups of peers, whoever.) Somehow, someway, you make it more trouble than it is worth to mess with you. Otherwise, you lose. They have no reason to stop. If you come across somebody who is willing to take it to the extreme, up to and including deadly force, I am sorry. Because they obviously feel they have nothing to lose, and I don’t have any advice other than to remove yourself physically from the area so it will no longer be a problem, or you eliminate the threat. There truly are no other options, other than appeal to their humanity, which seems to work in a few movies…

  38. Fighting back only works if you can injure the bully (I did once with a sharp rock to the back of the head). School authorities activly supprot bullying. The police might be useful. If my kids had been bullyed I would have videotaped and filed child abuse charges against the bullys, the teachers, the principal, and if the school board supported them, the school board as well (RICO charges). I would then make sure wherever they moved the neighbors would know about the charges.

  39. …but I think people are missing a crucial point. (IMO) It is not enough to just stand up. You have to win. In what ever form that takes. You personally out fight the bully. You have your friends do it. You get the cops to arrest them. You get some one bigger, more powerful ( teachers, groups of peers, whoever.) Somehow, someway, you make it more trouble than it is worth to mess with you. Otherwise, you lose.

    Exactly. Or you remove yourself (or have your parents remove you) as I mentioned in my earlier comment.

    This also relates to family. When I was growing no man in my immediate or extended family (both rater large) would have ever considered bullying his wife or other women in the family. They reprisals from the other men in the family made it less than worthwhile, i.e. he would have been carried out on a stretcher. It went without saying and everyone knew it. And it is a line no one ever crossed.

  40. Yes you have to win.

  41. Athol – Now I’m confused. In your most recent comment you said “Yes you have to win”

    but in your original post you wrote “Let me explain what I would have done differently if I could go back and relive that moment…I’d hit him back. As hard as I could. Remember, I’d be twelve years old at that point, 90 pounds soaking wet, like 4’10? or something, facing off a grown man with a six foot long cane”

    The way you describe the situation there doesn’t seem that you had a chance in hell of winning. Yet you indicate that you should have hit him back as hard as you could anyway.

    I am now completely unsure as to what you believe is the proper course of action in such situations.

  42. Winning means you have to make the experience of picking on you so aversive that they never try a repeat of it. That doesn’t mean you have to end up standing over them daring them to get up… simply that they avoid targeting you again.

    Obviously as an adult I’m recommending self-defense in the moment and pressing charges.

    The primary point of the post being that if someone is using force against you, unless you bring force into play yourself, you’ll always be bullied.

  43. Things must be very different in NZ.

    If you were in public school here in the US (assuming that corporal punishment was allowed) and you hit a teacher, he wouldn’t have to worry about a repeat of the incident.

    After he got done beating you, you would have been immediately expelled, labeled as dangerous and violent, and sent to a special school where both the faculty and the student body were far, far tougher and scarier.

  44. I think discussion like this is very important. I grew up with aggression, sexual harassment and bullying being the norm rather than something that happened to other people. I though something was wrong with me as I found it repugnant and could not cope. People though something was wrong with me!

    If one grows up in a violent family, violence and aggression seem normal. HOWEVER, they are not the norm for all people. There are wonderful gentle, placid natured people out there and it is those one should cultivate as friends and partners. It is worth while getting to know a lot of people and really noticing their interactions before choosing a partner – you virtually need to reprogram your mind/intuition about people. It is also important to learn how to influence people without being nasty.

    Athol – you might write something on this. Some of your readers may be struggling with being the abusive partner and not know it. Glad to see you back to frequent posting! :-) C

  45. technovelist says:

    I was bullied on and off throughout school. In 4th grade, a “classmate” who was much bigger and older than me picked on me constantly, while I tried to ignore it, until one day I snapped and hit him as hard as I could. I knocked him down and he ran away crying. Then his mother came to our house and complained that I had hit him. My mother said “Good, it’s about time.” He never bothered me again.
    A similar thing happened in high school, with a similar outcome, but that time the bully wanted to be friends afterwards(?). I wasn’t interested.

    So in short, Athol is right. As usual.

  46. “There are only two solutions to dealing with violent people you’re in a permanent relationship with. (1) Smashing them back harder than they can hit you, or at least making the situation risky enough that they figure you aren’t worth the effort and they move on to a softer target, or (2) having outside use of force come and do it for you.
    i.e. have the cops come in and cuff them, cart them away and have the law, courts and jails do what they have to.”

    I like a lot of your stuff, Athol, but you are treading into some difficult territory here. I’m pretty well read on domestic violence issues and have quite a bit of professional experience as well. Offering blanket advice to hit them back harder or involve the police is tragically inadequate to address the realities of living with an abusive spouse or family member. Helping a person disentangle from an abuser is quite different from helping someone rebuild their self esteem and get laid, and the stakes are much higher.

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