One of the primary ways that a bully makes life difficult for their victim is to maliciously gossip about them knowing that information will get back to their intended victim. To mock their victim’s appearance, the way they act, or their beliefs to anyone who will listen. They seek to harm their victim by trashing their name and reputation every time the opportunity arises. If they can build an echo-chamber for their malice … a bully’s dream.
In school the bullying usually takes both the direct (physical threat) and passive (malicious gossip) forms to create a well-rounded hellacious experience for the victim. Of course that well-rounded hateful two-pronged hell can, and often does, occur in adult life as well. However, I have found that many victims of bullying can later become the very thing that hurt them by becoming malicious gossips. They may not literally push you down at the playground, but they will do something just as bad or worse; they will seek to mock and destroy everything about you, in their sphere of influence at least, with their words.
This is especially true when they know that what they are saying will eventually reach, echoed back to, the person they hate. That is some special kind of devious right there that is.
Take the battle against bullying to another level. Do not take part in malicious gossip by creating it, adding to it, or passing along the information. And just as you would intervene to stop a bully from physically harming another person, it is just as important to correct malicious gossip with what you know to be true otherwise. If the environment is not healthy and continues to foster malicious gossip, for your own health, leave. Silent or not, don’t empower it with your presence.