The Huffington Post—April 25, 2012
by Helene Pavlov, M.D., FACR, Radiologist-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery
Bully, a new movie about high school students tormenting each other, is getting much attention. Bully situations can escalate and bubble up to a breaking point that results in innocent victims and families suffering needlessly and, in extreme situations, suicide. In the aftermath of such a catastrophe, the media usually questions -- 1) Could this have been predicted? 2) How might this have been prevented?
Although not typically included in the media discussions of bullying, child and elder abuse can be considered as a form of bullying. In both child and elder abuse situations, there is a victim and a tormentor. However, these victims are usually unable to speak up or defend themselves. Both the very young and the very old lack a voice to ask for help, and may not have the means to inform others or fight back. Children have a slight advantage over the elderly in that they are usually protected by schoolteachers, friends' parents, nannies, pediatricians and other adults who, if they are looking, may spot signs of abuse. Child abuse also gets frequent airtime, which helps to increase public awareness of what signs of abuse to look for and when and how to get help.
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