In bullying, no physical thrusts are present, it's all verbal, yet it can destroy an individual. Yet like physical attacks, verbal attacks are specific, they might attack our person, our behaviors, our preferences, our heritage etc. We need appropriate responses to divert the energy and immobilize our opponents.
IMHO, bullies attack the weakest, not the strongest in the herd. Teach strength.
Also, the best way to get off the line in a verbal attack is not to take it personal and see it as a sign of the bully's insecurities and fears.
Agreed, its is a progressive problem and on we need to address.