Bullying

Cartoon illustration: Adults direct types of bullying toward Cynthia Parkhill's Bitstrips avatar. A woman stares at her from around the corner. One man talks behind his hand to a listener, who has a shocked look on his face. A woman with a disbelieving expression looks at her computer while a woman in the desk next to her looks over. The caption reads, "Bullying survivor: What I imagine is happening."
Cartoon image created with Bitstrips
Studies have documented that people on the autism spectrum are especially at risk of bullying, and this finding is reflected in my own experience.

It was difficult to understand the complex social situations and unspoken rules that governed my schoolmates’ behavior. I was verbally abused, physically attacked and systematically excluded at Calistoga Elementary School and Calistoga Junior/Senior High School in Calistoga, Calif.

Lingering effects of bullying make it difficult to trust people and recognize potential friendships.

I frequently blog about bullying, especially about the importance of an entire school community uniting to support its targets. I also emphasize the importance of not blaming the victim for supposedly causing the abuse.

Recognizing, too, that bullying is a behavior that is not limited to childhood, I support policies that address harassment and bullying in professional and public spaces. It’s important to be on record that this behavior is unacceptable and that targets know where to go for help.


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