A number of posts on this topic, in scattered threads, have brought back some rather unpleasant memories and events from my life. You see, I've had some first-hand experiences with bullying, not only as a child, but as an adult and as a mother. I remember 7th grade (being the one that was under-developed), 8th grade (still not there), 9th through 11th grade (where there were boys trying to stuff contraceptive packages in my bookbag).
It didn't make me stronger. It made me withdraw. It made me avoid places and people. One time, I ended up shrieking at one of my attackers in the lunch line and then fleeing - because I felt guilty. I didn't get lunch that day. I didn't even try to buy a school lunch again.
I was stalked during college. The girl who stalked me had me terrified, because she made a point of telling me that she was a black belt, and had both a butterfly knife and a number of throwing stars on campus. I spent a couple of hours trapped in my room after she decided that my avoiding her was a reason to profess her undying love for me. The next year, I managed to get a room down the hall from someone who had a restraining order against her.
Before I left the DC area, I was a member of a fairly active spiritual discussion group - until the best friend of one of the mods decided that one of my friends was lying about his past. Mind you, she had known him maybe ten weeks - I'd known him for years. It didn't matter. First it was veiled references, then outright sniping comments. Eventually, I shut down that email account completely. It's been over ten years, and I'm only now starting to get to get back in touch with some of the people I knew from back then.
Many of you know that I have a daughter. She's smart, small, a bit of a 'pleaser' - in short, a perfect target. She's a lot like me, and I've already gotten involved once to shut down a set of bullies (first grade - I found out about it from my mother-in-law, called the teacher and the principal about it, and the three miscreants were called on the carpet). These days, bullying is more than mean words in the hallways and threats of 'I'll get you after school'. It can be a constant barrage of text messages, Facebook postings, viral videos - in short, it's gone from something that you can 'leave' at school to something that can follow you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It is not what we grew up with. It can easily drive even the strongest individual to their knees. Or worse.
I know there are people that disagree with me. I know that there are people who (just as vehemently) side with me when I say that bullying shouldn't be tolerated. I'd like to point out one thing, though: If someone disagrees with you, and you choose to belittle them, call them names, and so forth, you aren't holding up your end of being 'anti-bullying'.
You're becoming part of the problem.