Abdul Khaber was not shy to admit where he fit in the bully-victim dichotomy when he was in middle school and high school.
“I didn’t get bullied too much because I was the bully,” he said.
The 24-year-old said he bullied his peers for a number of reasons – he said he thought that those he bullied were weaker and couldn’t defend themselves, and he thought bullying made him look cool and helped him to fit in.
“Bullying now is not the same – it’s gotten more violent and mean,” he said. “It used to only happen at school, and now it happens wherever they [youth] go.”
Khaber said his 14-year-old cousin recently dealt with a bullying incident where he was physically assaulted outside of the Pearl Theater at Avenue North on Broad and Oxford streets. Although his cousin was not seriously injured, the incident showed Khaber that bullying has gone beyond the pushing and name-calling mentality.
He said that bullying has also changed as a result of the popularity of social networking websites like Facebook, which he said can allow bullies another avenue to harass their victims.
“We can get together and talk to both the bullies and those being bullied,” he said, “and get [bullies] to realize how their actions affect others.”
Josh Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.