Bullying and GBV are the most extreme manifestations of unequal gender relations in society, as well as one of the most common human rights violations.
This was the sentiment of uMfolozi Mayor Xolani Bhengu commenting after a female learner from Mpephose High School in the Makhwezini area recorded herself reporting a traumatic experience of being bullied by a male learner.
Bhengu is set to meet with the family of the victim today.
“Bullying in schools is a problem that can have a negative impact on the overall education climate, as well as the rights of pupils to learn in a safe, fear-free environment,” said Bhengu.
“We are concerned about the bullying incidents recorded in our community since victims of bullying are often apprehensive, insecure, cautious, and have a low self-esteem, rarely defending or retaliating when approached by bullies. They may be socially isolated and lack social skills and friends,” said Bhengu.
“However, we are proud of the student from Mpephose High School, who was brave enough to record a video so the rest of the world could see the challenges that our children face at school.
“We encourage learners, even those who were not directly part of the bullying but laughing when someone is being abused, to stop it, we need to protect our girl child.
“On Sunday, I met with the perpetrator and his family, today I’ll be meeting the family of the victim to get an understanding of what really happened because it seems like the bullying has been happening for too long.
“Society needs to understand that bullying is a serious issue that can have a significant impact on students’ capacity to thrive academically and socially.
“To ensure all pupils can study in a secure and fear-free environment, a comprehensive intervention plan involving all students, parents and school staff is required,” added Bhengu.
The Witness reports that in the video, the girl paints a painful picture of how she has been bullied by the boy and how the bullying escalated to assault when she was beaten up twice last week.
The publication states that after learning of these allegations on Friday, the provincial education department said it has over the weekend traced the young girl, arranged for a psychologist to have a session with her, interacted with her family, and assisted her in opening a case against the alleged perpetrator.
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