Bullycide: Definition & Statistics

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

This lesson will provide a definition of bullycide and discuss current statistics on suicide attempts. An actual case study of bullycide will be reviewed, and important suicide warning signs will be discussed.

Daniel's Story

Daniel is remembered by family members as a 13-year-old teen with a heart of gold. At the private New York school Daniel attended, he was taunted relentlessly by other students. Bullies threw balls at him in gym, and ridiculed him verbally. Daniel did the right thing and spoke to teachers and administrators about the incidents and was assured that everything would be fine. In reality, however, nothing was formally addressed.

On August 11, 2016, Daniel wrote a letter in which he detailed the bullying behavior he was subjected to and named his tormentors. Shortly thereafter, his sister found him in a closet. He had committed suicide by hanging himself; becoming yet another tragic bullying statistic.

What is Bullycide?

Bullycide is a rather new term related to bullying, and has received significant attention in recent years. Put simply, bullycide occurs when incidents of bullying become so intolerable that the victim ultimately commits suicide by taking their own life. Bullying takes place when intimidation is used with the intent of making a person who is unable to properly defend themselves feel inferior and worthless. A bully can use physical or mental aggression and intimidation to accomplish this goal, and bullying can take place in a variety of contexts, including online. The latter is referred to as cyberbullying. Victims are frequently children, adolescents, or young adults, although anyone can be targeted.

An attempt at suicide following incidents of bullying, whether successful or not, is often viewed as an escape from the pain endured by the victim over the course of the bullying. There are many factors that may lead to bullycide, including:

  • Being subjected to continuous forms of bullying
  • Experiencing mental or physical pain as a result of bullying
  • Being the subject of endless laughter and gossip following bullying incidents
  • Lacking parental and peer support
  • Feeling there is no way to end the bullying

Statistics

Statistics on both bullying and bullycide have been compiled, and the results are troublesome.

Statistics on Bullying

A staggering 90 percent of 4th through 8th graders report being bullied at some point in their young lives. This is a sobering statistic, indicating that even young children participate in acts of bullying. This is not the only statistic that's staggering, however, and the following information shines light on how pervasive the problem has become:

  • Approximately 2.1 million bullies with 2.7 million victims are currently estimated to be enrolled in American schools
  • One in every seven students in American schools is either a bully or a victim of bullying
  • More than 280,000 students are physically attacked in high schools each month
  • About 85% of bullying is ignored by teachers and administrators
  • Approximately 160,000 students don't go to school each day out of fear of being bullied or attacked

Statistics on Bullycide

A study conducted in Great Britain concluded that half of all attempted and successful suicides amongst teens could be attributed to bullying. The study also concluded that girls between the ages of 10 and 14 were at the greatest risk. Although this study was conducted in Great Britain, the following statistics on bullying in the United States, suggest the results of this study could potentially be replicated stateside as well:

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst children, teens, and young adults aged 10-34
  • For every one successful suicide attempt, there are 100 unsuccessful ones
  • More than 14 percent of high school students have thought about suicide, and seven percent have attempted it
  • A study conducted by Yale University concluded that victims of bullying are between seven and nine percent more likely to commit suicide than individuals who are not subjected to bullying
  • Suicide attempts resulting from bullying are on the rise

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