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Paula Sanders Morris
President, UCAA
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The 5 W’s of Peer Abuse

Elizabeth Bennett

Bullying has always been a problem in society. As everyone has grown up, we have learned it to be a rite of passage or a part of growing up. However, in recent years, we have been learning of the dangers of bullying. Every day, children are killing other children or they are committing Bullycide which is suicide as we know it. What people have yet to learn is that bullying is a form of abuse and that is Peer Abuse. Like any other form of abuse, this leaves scars on its victims that can take years to overcome. Problems develop within the victim such as clinical depression, social anxiety and PTSD. As for bullies, they grow up to develop disorders such as narcissistic and anti-social personality disorders which include the psychopath and sociopath. Also, many wind up within the prison system as adults.

So, how would one define Peer Abuse? I have broken the definition down into the 5 W's which helps to define all aspects of this. The 5 W's of Peer Abuse are:

  1. What is Peer Abuse? Peer Abuse can be defined as one who brings mistreatment, insult or deception in excessive amounts to another individual of the same peer group. This is done physically, mentally, emotionally or sexually.
  2. Who are the victims? Those who are experiencing an excessive amount of physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse from someone of their peer group. These occur in children and adults, and adults who suffer from clinical issues due to experiencing the abuse during their childhoods. This can also include adults who are bullied as adults too.
  3. Where does Peer Abuse generally occur? This occurs in the schools, workplace, in writing, over the phone and on the Internet. Anywhere there is a means of communication.
  4. When does this occur? This can occur at any time or any place that interaction takes place between individuals of the same peer group.
  5. Why does Peer Abuse occur? The bully is experiencing some abuse elsewhere in their lives and they bring their anger and what they know on to those who may have differences or what the bully perceives to be different. Or, the victim is someone who is basically different from the "norm" in his environment.
  6. If you are being abused by your peers or you see any of this occurring, please let someone know. Peer Abuse is an adult problem because as adults, we allow it to continue and grow worse. Children should be able to come to adults and feel safe. Adults need to get educated on this so they can implement it into their daily lives. After all, there is a difference in ratting someone out and reporting what should be considered a crime.

    Elizabeth Bennett grew up in the state of South Carolina. She is a 1995 graduate of Clemson University with a M. Ed in Guidance and Counseling Services. She worked in the agency setting with children and adults for six years. Since 1995, she has been working on Peer Abuse through observational research and theory development. Through speaking engagements, talk radio, newspaper, internet and television, she has been able to educate others on Peer Abuse in the USA and Canada. Currently, she is listed with Who's Who and has been recognized as one of the Great Women Of The 21st Century by The American Biographical Institute.