Report: What Colleges Should Know About Teletherapy and How to Pick the Best Telehealth Vendor for Your Students
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post....
By Jessica Hicks
Your religion and religious community might be a safe haven for you and a source of hope and strength, which is why it can be confusing and painful when it’s the reason others are treating you badly.
Being bullied because of your religion can be traumatic. Your religion might be a positive presence in your life and a big part of who you are. But when you’re ridiculed or discriminated against because of it, you might start to experience feelings of shame, isolation, or anger. All your feelings are valid, and it’s important to know that what’s happening is not your fault.
There is overlap between religious bullying and hate crimes. Both should be reported, but who you report to will differ depending on the nature of the bullying. This article will explain the difference.
Help is available to you if you’re dealing with religious bullying or a hate crime. Read on to find out what religious bullying can look like, when it might be a hate crime, and how to report it and seek support.
Religious, or faith-based, bullying is when you’re treated negatively based on your actual or perceived religion with the intent of inflicting emotional, mental, or physical harm. Religious bullying is a form of identity-based bullying, where someone is targeted because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, religion, disability, or another part of who they are.
Religious-based bullying can happen online or in person, occur at school or at work, come from peers or strangers, and take different forms, including:
Religious bullying can lead to:
Feeling threatened for who you are and what you believe can also lead to physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms are your body’s way of trying to protect you from threats in your environment.
Some things you might experience:
It might feel scary to talk about it, but the first step to protecting yourself is to talk to an adult you trust. Think about who you’d feel most comfortable confiding in: your parent or caregiver, a teacher, a coach, a relative, or someone else you feel safe opening up to.
If you’re reaching out to a teacher or school staff member, it doesn’t matter what subject they teach or what their exact job is—what matters is that they listen.
Check out these tips for talking to your caregivers when you’re having a hard time; most of them apply to talking to any adult.
You could share what’s been happening and ask for help managing the situation or reporting it. Some states or areas have strict bullying laws or regulations, so if you choose to speak to a school staff member, they may be required to report it. Before sharing, you might say something like: “I’m being bullied and want to talk to you about it. If I share, what will happen?”
If you’re facing religious bullying, keeping records of what’s going on can be helpful so you have detailed information if you decide to report it. It’s helpful to write down what occurred, who was involved, and when and where it happened, in a journal or on a notes app on your phone.
You might also take photos of any texts, social media posts, or other images or written evidence that you’re being bullied. Some social media apps, like Snapchat, let users know if a screenshot was taken, so try to use another device to take a photo or video so you can do it privately.
You deserve to feel safe and be free of harassment at school. With the help of a trusted adult, you may want to reach out to a school administrator to inform them of the bullying and file a report. You might reach out to a guidance counselor or a vice/associate principal to start the process.
Some things to share:
You’ll likely fill out some paperwork detailing what’s happened, and you can ask for a copy of it. Many school districts then open an investigation to understand and address what’s happened. As the investigation goes on, you’ll want to keep any messages or information your school provides.
If you haven’t received any updates about the investigation after two weeks, you can reach out in writing to the person you reported the bullying to.
If you’re being bullied online, you have the option to mute, block, and/or report the individual who’s harming you to the social media platform. These features are here to protect you. In most cases, when you mute someone on social media, the individual isn’t notified, so you don’t need to worry about them finding out.
Being bullied because of your religion can cause emotional trauma. That’s why it’s important to get help by:
Learn more about getting affordable mental health care and how to take care of yourself when you’re waiting for mental health care.
It’s normal to have all different kinds of thoughts, feelings, and reactions, and it’s important to take time to sit with—and make space for—everything you’ve gone through. Validate your experience by:
If a friend is experiencing religious bullying, you can help them by:
Learn more about helping your friends when they’re struggling.
Identity-based bullying, including religious bullying, and hate crimes are similar because they are both rooted in bias—someone is being targeted because of their actual or perceived race, skin color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender or gender identity, disability, or other part of who they are.
The difference between religious bullying and a hate crime comes down to whether what the perpetrator is doing could be considered a crime. If someone harms you physically based on your religion or makes a meaningful threat to your life or safety, that could be considered a hate crime. Most speech—insensitive jokes, name-calling, and slurs—are traumatic, bullying behavior but would not be considered a crime.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a hate crime, it’s critical to report it to law enforcement. Find out more about what hate crimes are and how to report them by visiting the Victim Connect Resource Center.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7.
You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.
If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.