Bullying & Gender-Based Violence in Schools: Assessing the Problem and Developing Interventions

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Bullying & Gender-based violence in schools: Assessing the Problem and Developing Interventions By

Shabina Rehman
Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences, Management & Science University, Shah Alam, Malaysia. E-Mail: rehman30@yahoo.com

&

Sultan Rehman Sherief
Lecturer, Department of Business Administration, Management & Science University, Shah Alam, Malaysia. E-Mail: sultan_rehman@msu.edu.my

ABSTRACT
This article purports to re-introduce the phenomenon of bullying& gender-based violence in order to facilitate readers with an updated version about the problem- from different perspectives, by researchers of national & international scope. In the African continent, bullying in school is generally sexual and gender-based. An analysis of some of the most important risk factors has been done to provide a clear picture, which will enable the development of effective interventions. The main objective of this article is to provide suggestions in developing a systemic approach to curb bullying. Useful strategies have been suggested to tackle this problem which is very important to the educationists worldwide. Keywords: Bully, aggression, gender-based violence, personality, peer group, media

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I. INTRODUCTION Bullying is not a new problem for schools, since it has been present for a long time; however only in recent years is its importance recognized. This is a specific phenomenon of school violence, which affects schools around the world regardless of national borders, geography or politics (Debarbieux, 2003). Defining bullying is no small task, especially if we seek a definition which is agreed upon by researchers of the phenomenon. Nonetheless, despite the many proposed definitions, we can affirm that most share a common characteristic: bullying is identified as a specific conduct of aggressive behavior (Espelage & Swearer, 2003). The definition offered by Olweus (1993), states that “bullying is a set of physical and /or verbal behaviors that a person or group of persons, directs against a peer, in hostile, repetitive and ongoing fashion, abusing real or fictitious power, with the intent to cause harm to the victim.” This definition establishes fulfillment of certain criteria in order for the behavior exhibited to be defined as bullying: • • • an imbalance of power between the victim and the aggressor, to be understood as a dishonest, domineering, opportunistic and illegitimate use of power over one’s opponent; incidence and duration of the bullying situation with a minimum incidence of once per week and a minimum duration of six months; intentionality and proactive character of the aggression, since one is seeking to obtain some social, material or personal benefit, without prior provocation. Ever since the initial pioneer studies by Olweus in Scandinavian countries, many other studies have followed. In the first phase of research, most studies focused on an attempt to define the problem. (Olweus, 1993; Rivers & Smith, 1994; Crick, Casas & Ku, 1999), giving way to the other studies addressing the incidence of the problem (Boulton, 1993; Olweus, 1996; Smith, Morita, Junger-Tas, Olweus, Catalano & Slee, 1999; Defensor del Pueblo, AA.VV., 1999), an aspect which still concerns us today and is reflected by specific studies published in the last five years (Carney & Merrel, 2001; Solberg & Olweus, 2003; Toldos, 2005; Avile’s & Monjas, 2005; Cerezo & Ato, 2005; Ramirez, 2006). The detailed description of the phenomenon then encouraged the appearance of studies concerned with describing the agents involved (Rigby, 1997; Monks, Smith & Swettenham, 2003; Veenstra, Lidenberg, Oldehinkel, De winter, Verlhulst & Ormel, 2005; Camodeca & Gossens, 2005; Perren & Alsaker, 2006); with analyzing the problem’s risk factors (Lahey, Waldman & Mc Burnett, 1999; Kokkinas & Panayiotou, 2004; Farrington, 2005) and analyzing the effects of the problem particularly among its victims (Crick & Grothpeter, 1995: Perren & Alsaker , 2006)....
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