Most bullying is emotional and psychological torture. Sure, there are many physically violent bullies out there and they are psychologically traumatizing enough using their fists. However, physical bullies are either (a)not very socially intelligent and persuasive, (b) attack in groups wearing masks over their faces to give them anonymity, (c) so well-connected that they’re almost untouchable, or (d) couldn’t care less about the consequences they will face.
The reason most bullies prefer psychological violence is because there are no bruises, cuts, wounds, scars, or any visible marks on the target’s body. And without visible marks, there’s no proof of the abuse. Therefore, when you report the abuse, the perpetrators aren’t likely to get into trouble for it and you stand more of a chance of being accused of being too sensitive, paranoid, or mentally ill.
These are the reasons I recommend being prepared when you know you must walk into a snake pit.
Here are ways to gather evidence:
1. Document the abuse- I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it many more. It’s crucial to document each bullying incidence and do it in detail. Use the 5W method- (What, who, why, when, where…and sometimes how) write down what happened, who was involved, who were the bystanders and witnesses, why the bullying incident happened (retaliation for reporting a prior bullying incident?) when it happened (date and exact time of incidence) and where it happened (school bathroom, locker room, gym, behind the school, the parking lot, etc.).
2. Wear a body camera- If you live in a one-party consent jurisdiction and the laws permit you to wear one, I recommend you wear a body camera. In fact, I can’t stress it enough! Body cams that record both video and audio are your best bet, but if you can only get a cam that records video, that’s fine too as you can still capture physical attacks and body language. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is worth a thousand pictures because if bullying is caught on video, there’s no question that it’s happening and it’s the best evidence you can get!
3. Keep a digital recorder handy- These are good for recording verbal altercations and many of them today can play recorded sound that is clear and not muffled.
4. Make 3-4 Copies of your evidence- Whether it’s documentation, body cam recordings, or digital audio recordings, it’s always best to make several copies of the evidence because schools, companies, and other entities are notorious for (deliberately) misplacing and losing a target’s evidence of bullying. Yeah, I know. Convenient, isn’t it?
5. Keep each of your copies in different (undisclosed) locations- This is so important! Because, if you think school districts and companies haven’t snooped through a target’s office, or worse, hired people to break into their houses to search for evidence they can dispose of, you’re wrong! When it comes to the threat of being sued, schools and companies will resort to anything, and I mean anything!
6. Screenshot and save any nasty and abusive emails, texts, or private messages- Very important! Any time bullies resort to cyber-bullying you via email, text, or private message, they automatically leave a paper trail! Screenshot it, save it, and, if need be, print them all out. Make copies of them and the files. Store each copy in an entirely different place (your house, your grandma’s house, your lawyer’s office, etc.) Store them in a fireproof safe!
They snoop through your garbage when you put it out on the street for the trash-men to pick up the next morning, break into your vehicle, and other nefarious things to cover their butts. I’ve read many an article about these things happening to targets of bullying, whether in school, the workplace, or community. And in today’s world, bullies are now targeting their victims for surveillance drones and school boards are targeting parents with electronic surveillance as well, then spreading their private information and pictures of children to some evil entities.
It’s a very dangerous world nowadays and you never know what sick people you just might be dealing with.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to gather your own evidence. Quietly do your own investigation. It’s pointless to rely on the school or workplace to investigate for you because the results will only be in the bullies’ and the investigating entity’s favor, not yours! Never, ever trust anyone else to gather evidence or investigate for you. When you’re targeted for bullying, you cannot afford to trust anyone but yourself and I’m not joking! When you’re bullied, it’s not the time to be lazy. The only person you can depend on is you. Only you can gather the evidence you need to prove that you’re targeted by bullies, take legal action, and get justice.
With knowledge comes empowerment!