Updated: Feb 20, 2021
Trigger Warning: eating disorders, suicide
School bullying is constantly increasing through the years. So much so that a study made in the United States shows that school bullying has increased 35 percent from 2016 to 2019: in 2016, 38.6 percent of students said they had been bullied in school. While, in 2019, that percentage went up to 52.3 percent. Besides that, it has also been shown that at least 30 percent of bullying is linked to physical appearance. So, how has bullying affected people with eating disorders?
While eating disorders can be caused by many different factors, bullying is among the leading ones. Studies repeatedly show that at least 65 percent of people suffering from eating disorders say that bullying contributed to their condition. Additionally, it has also been shown that overweight children are 63 percent more inclined to be mocked than the rest of their classmates.
What can be the cause of this type of bullying? We live in a society where the ideal body type is being very thin. Hence, many people who aren’t aware of the power of their words encourage this body type by shaming and making fun of people who don’t fit into what society deems beautiful. Therefore, people who are already insecure about their bodies might develop eating disorders which can even lead to suicide.
Then, what can we do to help people with eating disorders? First of all, be very careful with your words, you don’t know how they may affect them. But most importantly, support them because recovering from an eating disorder is extremely difficult and they are going to need help and encouragement to recover.
Moreover, in order to prevent people from developing eating disorders, it is very important to look out for people being bullied around you. So, if there is anyone who is being bullied around you, it is essential to not be a bystander and tell the bully to stop. Victims of bullying need someone to stand up for them as bullies thrive when their victim is alone.
Taking into account everything that I’ve mentioned above, we need to keep something in mind: words can be extremely hurtful. Thus, what can we comment about someone’s physical appearance? It’s very simple, whatever you are going to comment on can be changed in five seconds (for instance, their shoes are untied)? If whatever you are going to comment on (for instance, their weight, their clothes, etc), just don’t, there’s no need for you to say anything.
Always remember to be kind.