Not only is there a stigma attached to the reporting of bullying incidents, there’s also a reluctance by bullying targets to ask others for help in dealing with victimisation. This double whammy makes it hard to combat bullying.

One US study found that only 20-30% of bullied school students reported the bullying to an adult because of humiliation, fear, embarrassment or feeling it wouldn’t make a difference. Unfortunately, holding all that pain inside is a terrible emotional burden – and that pain applies equally to targets of worksite harassment and cyber abuse too.

In my own workplace bullying experience, I waited much too long before seeking outside help to deal with the emotional and physical fallout resulting from being targeted by a toxic boss for three years. Both during and after the bullying, I experienced symptoms similar to PTSD. I left seeking help so late because I felt I was a strong enough person to handle it on my own – but the physical toll it took on me (I ended up in the hospital) showed me I should have sought support much earlier.

There are plenty of professional organisations, charities and helplines you can talk to if you’re being bullied. Reach out to them now!

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from my insights and follow me on LinkedIn. I am passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people to break the silence.

If you would like to book me for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.

Jessica Hickman is a professional member of these associations:

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