As a child in the 1960s, I was constantly and viciously bullied in grade school, middle school, early high school, and at church. There was some sexual molestation. When I sought help from adults, I was only told that bullies are cowards and that I needed to handle my own problems.
That is the worst thing to tell a kid. I learned a lot about bullies to survive. Bullying is obsessive-compulsive behavior caused by severe disorder. The bully uncontrollably latches on to his or her victims as strongly as a tick burrows into the skin of a host. The bully is as much a victim of his or her own disorder as the bullied is victim of the bully.
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Driving a bully away is not as simple as standing up and confronting him. That works as well as trying to persuade a tick to voluntarily pull out of the skin and leave. Many times the only successful way is for a victim to at least convince the bully that he has the capability of killing and will do so. I developed that capability by my junior year of high school. It is a horrible thing to live with; nobody should be forced to develop it. But the natural instinct of self-preservation plays its part.
Victims of bullying need help against the bullies, but society does not recognize that the bullies need professional help. They often become self-destructive adults with shorter-than-average life spans. Parents usually resist recognizing and admitting that their child has a serious problem that requires professional help. This feeds the problem. Criminalization of bullies is a failure to recognize the true problem and deal with it properly.