By Jae-Ha Kim
July 26, 2014

I was at a wedding recently and got to see a lot of my relatives. I was talking to a cousin, who is half Korean. I remember his daughter telling me how she had been bullied for being Asian. She’s just 1/4 Korean, but that was all that the bullies needed.

My cousin told me a story that I had never heard before. Kids used to make fun of him for having small eyes and pushed him around when he was little. He said that he loved it when my brother—who was taller than him at the time—used to come over to visit, because when the bullies showed up, my brother would beat them up.

I know I shouldn’t find that funny, but I do. If you’re bullying someone for whatever reason and you get punched in the process, well, too bad for you. Maybe you should stop harassing other children and learn not to be a little asshole.

So I ask you all: If someone is being bullied and punches back, are they both in the wrong?

© 2014 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved

Comments (31)

  1. Amy McIntyre says:

    LOL! Good for him! If you’re going to walk the walk and call someone a name or push them around, you’d better be prepared to get your ass handed back to you!

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      Ideally the child can extract him/herself from the situation without resorting to hitting. But sometimes that’s the only option if it’s clear that are out to hurt you!

  2. Marcus Laurent says:

    As someone who was bullied all throughout middle school, I have little sympathy for bullies. I have even less sympathy for the teaachers and adults and other kids who watch this happen and just stand by. I will never walk away when I see children ganging up on each other.

  3. Mary Lee says:

    Haha! I’ve seen too many kids do this to each other. While I, too, don’t condone violence, I also don’t blame children for fighting back when bullies continue.

  4. Kathryn David Woods says:

    Sometimes it’s instructive to let a person feel what it is like to be at the receiving end of their behavior.

  5. Roy Lee says:

    No. I told my nephew if he ever gets bullied just punch the bully in the face once and he’ll never have to worry about it again. Kids have to learn to standup for themselves.

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      Sadly, I think you are right. Turning the other cheek is great in theory. But in reality, you’re just giving the bully another place to hit you. I don’t want my son to instigate a fight. But if he has to defend himself–or someone else who’s being picked on–it’s another story.

  6. Juan Alcazar says:

    Depends on the situation sometimes but then again if the bullied person punches back it’s because of provocation by the bully.

  7. Jennifer England Krasa says:

    No, I don’t think so. I’ve told my kids that it is ok to defend themselves

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      Agreed. I also think it’s important to teach our children to not just stand by when they see others being bullied. Bullies thrive because no one dares stop them.
      Like · a few seconds ago

  8. Michael Bennett says:

    Nope!…just make sure the 1 punch is a good one.

  9. lisa Browne says:

    I was bullied & didn’t fight back, I should’ve kicked some ass, but I was afraid, but I’m not now..

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      I hear you. When you’re bullied, there’s not only fear, but a sense of shame. I know that I didn’t want my parents to know, because I didn’t want them to worry.

  10. Leigh T Hanlon says:

    The victim who punches back is NOT wrong. In fact, if more victims hit back, there would be a lot fewer bullies. And please, let’s not have any of that daytime talk show bullshit about “bullies are victims, too!”

  11. Derek M. Piec Sr. says:

    If it teaches the other kids a lesson and they stop bullying, then so be it. I say nothing wrong with it.

  12. Lara Austin Shoop says:

    Totally acceptable to fight back and stand up for yourself if you are bullied, equally acceptable and expected to stand up for someone who is getting bullied- I’ve worked really hard getting this point across to both of my girls.

  13. Siobhan says:

    Absolutely punch back!! I was a former employee at a high school and ALWAYS stepped in when I saw bullying going on. But I know of an incident which I was not around in which someone who was being bullied by one person in their high school homeroom. No one stood up for him. He finally had enough and decked the kid. One punch was all it took. He and the other kid got suspended, but that bully NEVER bothered him again. Problem solved 🙂

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      You are a force to be contended with, Siobhan! 😉 I wish there were more people like you. I know it takes guts to do so–because you never know when the bully is going to turn their attention on you. And I would never ask someone to put themselves in harms way. But often, if enough people stand up to bullies, the bullies have no choice but to back down. They only pick on the weak who they think can’t defend themselves.

      I remember reading about a case (click on link here) in Canada where two boys got into a fight — the white boy punched the Korean kid. The Korean kid was a black belt in tae kwon do and defended himself by punching the other kid back. But he punched him using his weaker, left arm — something his father told him to do if he had to fight, because he could seriously harm someone using his dominant right arm. Both kids were suspended, but the police pnly charged the kid who defended himself with assault. Only after 400 other students staged a sit in, saying that it was the bully’s fault, did the police take back their charges. It took students to get the police to do the right thing. Kudos to the children at that school for righting a wrong!

      • Kim Jaehwa says:

        I remember this. The Korean boy’s dad was a tae kwon do grandmaster and had taught his son never to misuse his skills. I commend that boy on using restraint. He could’ve seriously hurt that bully if he wanted to!

        • Jae-Ha Kim says:

          Yup. He showed amazing restraint for a 15 year old, I think. That other kid was lucky he didn’t let his nerves get the best of him and punch him with his right hand!
          Like · a few seconds ago

  14. Kim Jaehwa says:

    No. the bully deserves what he or she gets. I have little sympathy for shitheads who torment others and hope they get what they deserve,w hich is usually a good punch in the face

  15. Tory says:

    This is a very very powerful piece. If a child defends himself from a bully by punching back, I say good!

  16. LOIS GAIL says:


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