November 14, 2018

BY RILEY LINSEMAN

Bullying is more recognized today than in the past, but when did it begin?

Some people believe bullying has been around since the beginning of mankind. Signs of bullying have been reported even in our closest ancestors, the monkeys.

Christopher Boehm wrote in his book called Moral Origins, about how monkeys and chimpanzees regularly engage in behaviours similar to humans bullying others. The rewards for this type of behaviour include elevated social status and a higher sexual attraction.

The difference between other animals that bully and ourselves is we never see any deaths by suicide in the wild. There have been rumours of animal suicide, but David Sands, an animal behavioral specialist in England, proved that they were just that, rumours. Karl Smallwood, the author of an article on the website, Today I Found Out, said Sands gave two examples of these supposed animal suicides and explained why they were wrong.

One example was dogs “committing suicide” by jumping from Overtoun Bridge in Scotland. Different sources said the number of dog deaths from this bridge was anywhere between 12 and hundreds. It always seemed to people like these beloved pets were killing themselves for no reason, but Sands conducted some research and discovered why it was happening.

Dogs and most other animals act in a much more instinctual way Sands discovered. The majority of dogs jumping off this bridge were long-nosed breeds known for their heightened sense of smell and they were simply going after a nest of minks. They jumped off the bridge because they could smell the animals.

So why is it that we, as humans, the most highly evolved animal we know of, give into this bullying and take our own lives? Maybe the answer is because we are so highly evolved. Smallwood suggests that one of the reasons animals, other than humans, don’t take their own lives is because their simpler minds aren’t capable of abstract thinking – they don’t have existential feelings.
Bullying has reached crisis levels, especially among youth. Cyberbullyhotline.com found in 2012 42 per cent of teenagers with tech access reported they were cyberbullied, and three million children were absent from school, per month, because of it.

I can only imagine how bad those stats are today. I personally have never been one to give into bullying. I was bullied throughout school and I’m still bullied online just like practically everyone else is each day. I’ll admit that I feel depressed sometimes, but I’m still here. Life can be hard, but we can’t let the bad guys win.

If you are suffering, seek help, whether it is from friends, family members or even the police. Every life is worth saving.

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