• Bullying, jaundiced malice and ignorance

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    ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

    ALL it took was for me to post on FB, which also appeared as a tweet in my Twitter page, the following:
    “You only bully the weak. So, if Leni can be bullied, then she is weak.”

    And the logic of the yellow crowd just mercilessly unraveled.

    An anonymous group “Thinking Millennials” accused me of condoning bullying, if not a bully myself.
    A certain RA Ostria called me a psycho, lowlife subhuman filth. My kababayan Totoy Badiola from Naga City even seconded the psycho professor label.

    Others even questioned my academic credentials, and the irony became so clear since it came from people who appeared to have failed to understand simple English and logic.

    I can ignore Leah Navarro, who accused me of being un-professorial.

    But there are also those people who you would expect to know the nuances of language, and would know a declarative from an imperative by looking at the context of the discourse.

    Ninotchka Rosca, a creative writer, who one would expect to know the nuances and flair of language, profiled me as having the mind of a rapist.

    And then there is Raissa Robles, one who claims to be an international journalist, who maliciously implied that I am exhorting people to bully the weak. Not contented, she tagged in her tweet my university, with the malicious intent not only to shame me, but perhaps to force La Salle to penalize me.

    Penalize me for what? For stating that you only bully the weak, and for concluding that if Leni can be bullied, then she must be weak?

    But what these people miserably fail to comprehend is that the first is a claim already vetted and warranted by existing literature on the subject, and the second is simply a statement of a logical conclusion.

    A dictionary definition describes bullying as the “use of superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to force him or her to do what one wants.”

    One website focused on stopping bullying among children defines it as an “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-age children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. “

    The National Center against Bullying in Australia defines bullying as happening “when an individual or a group of people with more power, repeatedly and intentionally cause hurt or harm to another person or group of people who feel helpless to respond.”

    The American Psychological Association defines bullying as “a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. … The bullied individual typically has trouble defending him or herself and does nothing to “cause” the bullying.”

    A simple content analysis of the definitions points to three important elements that must be present for bullying to attach to an act.

    First, there must be a deliberate intent to harm. Hence, it is not a random and unintended act.

    Second, it must be repetitive. It is not a single act done by the bully to the victim, but must be a series of acts, which don’t have to be the same acts.

    And third, there must be an existence of a power differential, which could either be perceived or real. The bully is perceived to have, or does in fact possess more power while the bullied is perceived to be, or is in fact weak.

    The third condition is where I drew my declarative where I said that you only bully the weak. This is not to affirm nor condone bullying. It is also not an imperative exhorting or commanding anyone to bully weak people. It is a statement of fact which the legal system even recognizes as a prerequisite for bullying and harassment to occur, which is referred to as unequal power relations.

    It is however a premise from where one can draw a conclusion that if Leni Robredo allows herself to be bullied, or if in fact she is actually being bullied, then she must be weak. This is the gist of my second statement.

    The subtext here is that she currently occupies the office of the Vice President and as such holds a position of power. She could not be bullied by any citizen, in the same manner that Leah, Ninotchka and Raissa, and their yellow cohorts could not bully the President.

    It is in this context that one can now suspect that it is not because of the first statement that the yellows have a problem.

    I could have phrased it differently as “only the weak can be bullied” and they will still have a problem with it.
    It is because it is in the second statement, where I posited that Leni is weak if she can be bullied, that they are reacting.

    But faced with a logical conclusion for which they could not have any rebuttal, more so that it is a hypothetical qualified by the word “if,” then the only recourse for them is to attack me on my first statement.

    But then again, on this they also fail, for what they are up against is the corpus of scholarship and expert knowledge that have concluded that bullying is an act by the strong over the weak, be it real or perceived.
    Well, it looks like this is a season of failure for the yellows.

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