By Emmy Neema.
“The Mighty God must not sympathize with you, my tears that shed shall cause a cloud of curse upon them. I hope you are happy considering I’ve passed on.”
These were the final words of Lufuno Mavhunga a South African student at Mbilwi Secondary School, who recently ended her life after intense bullying from a fellow student.
According to reports, she overdosed on pills after the incident was captured on camera and later went viral, showing her being slapped repeatedly on the face while a crowd of her peers looked on and some even cheered.
The deceased was laid to rest over the weekend leaving behind a letter that suggested her soul is not resting in peace by being sent to death by those better than her, she, however, wished her assaulter well by stating “May the God help you to continue with the journey where I left off. May you get educated and materialize the dreams I had for my mother for them to become true.”
Similar to South Africa, Kenya stands at 57 percent for students who are bullied on one or more days in a month. This is according to a 2017 report by the World Health Organization which ranked Kenya among countries with the highest level of bullying. In 2019 a reported case of bullying at Nairobi School left a Form two student in need of surgery after being allegedly assaulted by school prefects.
Bullying is the act of aggression with malicious intent that is characterized by an imbalance of power and carried out repeatedly over time. Although bullying has decreased in most Kenyan schools it has affected a lot of victims. Here are some of the effects of bullying:
Bullied victims tend to lack self-esteem as a result of the mean and hurtful things that bullies say about them. For instance, when they are continually body-shamed and called names like losers they begin to believe this hence experiencing a wide range of emotions, leading to them feeling bitter, vulnerable, frustrated, lonely, and isolated.
Students being bullied may struggle to focus on their schoolwork by being so preoccupied with bullying to the extent that they forget about assignments or have difficulty paying attention in class. Additionally, they may skip school or classes to avoid being bullied hence leading to falling grades.
This is a mental illness that negatively affects how one feels, the way one thinks, and how one acts. Victims of bullying develop increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy thus leading to them being depressed which could, in turn, bring about suicidal thoughts.
Being bullied may lead to the victim distancing himself or herself from their peers because of fear of being ridiculed, mocked, and laughed at. This in turn leads to loneliness and difficulty in socializing with others.