School yard bullying happens all over the world, but the specific form it takes varies from culture to culture. In fact, there is very little research being conducted about bullying in non- ‘Western’ societies. However, when it comes to the Levant and the surrounding region, more attention to the issue has been paid by researchers over the past five years.

An investigation coming out of the University of Jordan discovered that 47% of Jordanian school-age children reported being bullied at school. Like most countries, more boys reported being victims of bullying than girls.

Image via
Note: image is not directly related to the topic.

But what’s really interesting is the form this bullying took. The most common form of bullying was mocking the appearance of peers’ teeth. Spacing between teeth was cited as the most common trait that was singled out for mockery. The report found that the second most common buttons bullies pressed were comments about strength and weight.

When it comes to Lebanon, studies have shown that approximately 34% of Lebanese students have reported being bullied. An investigation from the American University of Beirut found that the most common form this bullying takes is by mocking religion or sect.

Forget all those Hollywood films you have seen depicting bullies as ‘tough’ guys who steal lunch money and slam people against lockers. In Lebanon, bullies appeal to the divine to make kids cry.

Why is this important? It’s very tempting to take ‘Western’ bullying prevention strategies and simply apply them to the Lebanese case without thinking about the nuance of the local context. If we do that, it probably won’t help. When we talk to kids about respect, let’s make sure not to leave out religion.


Avatar 1
Post to facebook