So why did the female teachers in my Primary School stand by and do nothing?
We can example this to try to understand why people in all sorts of situations allow bullying. I think the fact that in this case they were women probably bears testimony to the era, yet still today are women disempowered in relation to men even though women have claimed respect in the intervening decades. But, in a sense, as we have discussed often in this blog, it is not so much "who", a woman or whomsoever, finds themselves subordinate in any given situation, it is simply the imbalance of power. I suppose it does a disservice to victims if I say that victims allow themselves to be bullied, but really in stark reality it is weakness that gives a green light to bullies. This is why children are in this position by default with adults, as are the elderly. But of course the fact that one is a timorous individual or non-confrontational, should not legitimise bullying behaviour, yet bullies, by their nature, are not going to restrain themselves on account of the virtues of others around them. Certainly not ! Bullies are parasitic upon weakness.
So, let`s go back to our two female teachers who egregiously let a sadist victimise two children of about 7 or 8 years old. ..... Well, to begin with, one of them was the man`s wife, so let`s take a look at her: as his wife she would have needs to try to maintain a good relationship with her husband. Her vested interest in her marriage would certainly take primacy over the protection of two children. How could she rail against him publicly? Undoubtedly his wrath would be vented upon her, either at that point, or in private. It may have caused a marriage breakup or at least strife for many days. Personally I would think, his wife being a mild little person, that she would be living her life with this man as someone she had to comply with,his being the Headmaster compounded this.
And of the other woman? Well, she had children in the school as well as having a good job near to home. I would imagine that to make a stand upon a matter such as this would have lead to her dismissal, personal upset and inconvenience. Given this, I would say that her intervention would be "impossible".
So these two individuals, in passive complicity with this bully, had more at stake personally than would rouse them to defend two small, terrified children. Doesn`t this perfectly explain how it is that we all can have such fears that we can become accomplices to the bullies around us? The pay-back is just too serious for us, so we let things go whilst knowing that what we see is immoral. I have certainly done this myself, though I`ll let myself off the hook in regard to not protesting at injustices in my school days !
"Good people stand by and do nothing." Well, of course this is not always the case, but it is often of personal risk to help a victim, and good people tend to have less courage because they are much less "in the animal" than the people they are up against. Often, good people have a more dominant sensitive side, are not so confrontational or aggressive, and find animal competitiveness unsavory.
What do we do then, when we know that we have turned a blind eye to something like this? I don`t know how these two women tried to square it with their consciences because I have never talked to them about it.(Suffice it to say that this incident, cited, was one of a catalogue of abuses...) I can only shrewdly surmise that the compartmental conscience would kick in with excuses such as "we were powerless to stop it", or maybe blaming the children,"if they had been honest and had confessed, this would not have happened", or a classic guilt avoidance would be to tell yourself that it wasn`t really as bad as you thought at the time ! Any or all of these things would enable these two teachers to continue their lives without conscience, the crime paling in their minds with every year that passed.
Of course, when people do make a stand, with any moral imperative, there has to be real courage. I am lucky (wow! what a thing to say!) that my father was a serious and sadistic bully and my mother a meek and well mannered person. Lucky?????? Am I mad, you might be thinking!!! No I am not mad, I can reassure you, it`s just that given that all of my childhood is unchangeable, I feel so privileged that I can analyse the crime scene (my home) of my father`s bullying, knowing all the background affecting the game-play. Just as I can understand as a witness the animal behaviours in my Primary School.
I`m coming back to this. Please chip in if you feel inclined !!! Let me know if you know of instances of bullying and where you have assessed the vested interest of people to not help the victim..."Protect those more powerful than you for your own sake" is the animal game.
Please see back to my other blogs titled: "Classrooms: Survival of the Fittest. "