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Ray Rice, Hester Prynne and Scandal

            Most of us can probably remember an incident when we have been either the perpetrator of the act of shunning or the recipient of being shunned. In the first instance, maybe you didn't want to see someone you know because you didn't have the time to deal with them. So you turn your face away and walk quickly by, hoping they didn't see you. You know perfectly well why you ignored the person, but they don't have a clue. On the contrary, if you have had a good relationship previously, let's say you notice someone you haven't seen in a while and want to say hello and catch up. You are sure they saw you. So you make a beeline toward them, but they do an about-face and walk in the opposite direction. You spend hours or days, maybe longer trying to figure out what you did to deserve being ignored, or worse being rejected. This really hurts when that other person is someone you thought liked you, accepted you, and maybe even ideally respected you. Shunning can be described as the act of social rejection or emotional distance. Almost like treating a certain person as though they don't exist. The act of Shunning is viewed in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter when the protagonist Hester Prynne commits adultery in the puritan society. The type of shunning that is done by the townspeople against Hester in centuries past by communities is based off of what were considered immoral to society during this particular time period. In the past several decades, we've expanded this type of rejection to the fine, negative science of avoidance; one that can be upsetting and hurtful to the recipient. For most, we get our first taste of shunning in grade school. You know the scenario, a group of friends decides that some kid in the group just doesn't fit in, and the shunning begins. Unfortunately, this behavior continues for many well into adulthood. When it becomes evident that the shunning is directed at just you, it is like Silent Bullying.

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