Non-physical bullying : exploring the perspectives of Grade 5 girls
CITATION: Swart, E. & Bredekamp, J. 2009. Non-physical bullying : exploring the perspectives of Grade 5 girls. South African Journal of Education, 29(3):405-425.
The original publication is available at http://www.sajournalofeducation.co.za/
Research into bullying has generated an awareness of many aspects of this phenomenon: it has shown a distinction between various types of bullying and how these are delineated by gender. It has also shown a scarcity of research on bullying amongst girls, a phenomenon which is rife. We report on a qualitative study, which explored and described the nature of bullying amongst girls, in order to make the invisible problem more visible and to make recommendations for intervention and prevention. In this interpretive study we explored bullying amongst girls by using the perspectives of Grade 5 girls in a parochial school in the Western Cape. Data were generated through the use of semistructured group interviews. We argue that there is no single solution to the problem. Each situation seems to require a unique set of rules, a unique understanding. This is supported by the main finding, namely, some girls have innate characteristics that help maintain bullying while others have characteristics that protect them from bullying. The environment also plays a large part in either maintaining bullying or protecting girls from bullying. The implication is that intervention and preventative strategies need to be based on these personal and contextual factors in order to effect change.