The torment of a particular classmate or coworker can become status quo or a habit if it’s not properly taken care of in the early stages.
Bullying of a certain individual is like a cancer that grows and spreads. A bully scans the environment, seeking whom he can torment. When the bully spots a possible victim, they test the waters by way of small snarky comments, backhanded compliments or anything which may cause the victim to feel uncomfortable.
The bully does this to see how the other person will react. If the individual on the receiving does nothing to assert their right not to be mistreated, the bully sees this as a green light for future bullying. Therefore, this individual has now become a target!
Word soon gets around the entire school or workplace that this target is ripe for bullying and others will join in. As time goes by, the torment becomes more of a regular, everyday occurrence. More and more people will bully the target and the taunts and physical attacks become more and more brutal. The attacks then become harder to combat, thus it becomes more difficult for the victim to either get help or protection.
The bullying of the target has now become the status quo with the student body or employees and with the school or workplace. Others refuse to help the target either due to rumors and lies to discredit her, or the widespread belief that, “Well, no one likes her anyway, so there has to be some justification to it.”.
The power dynamic has now been firmly put in place and the status quo is maintained.
Finally, the victim feels trapped and is in constant misery and fear for their own safety.