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What is Secondary Bullying?

Β I watched a show recently on Netflix about a girl that was bullied so badly that she took her own life. In one of the scenes she witnesses another student being rapped, and it got me thinking about what I like to call secondary bullying.

Secondary bullying is when a victim of bullying witnesses another victim get bullied. When kids are put in this situation what do they do? Sit back and watch in fear? Try and break it up? Try to ignore it’s happening? Walk away? Call for help? There is a plethora of responses to being bullied, and witnessing bullying can cause detrimental psychological effects.

Next time you speak to your child about bullying, you might want to consider having a conversation about experiencing secondary bullying. It can cause damage and terror for victims of bullies on multiple levels and although it’s not first hand, second hand can be just as dangerous.

What is Secondary Bullying?

Erica Loberg

Erica Loberg was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a BA in English. She is a published poet and author of Inside the Insane, Screaming at the Void, What Men Should Know About Women, What Women Should Know About Men, Diamonds From The Rough and Undressed.

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APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2017). What is Secondary Bullying?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 24, 2019, from


Last updated: 20 Apr 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Apr 2017
Published on All rights reserved.