For 8-year-old Iranian Mahan Rahimi, life had become a torment. Balding because of an unknown illness, he was the target of unceasing bullying at school — like millions of other kids in the world.

He had a physical characteristic that made him different from the rest of the class. In becoming bald, Mahan was also becoming a victim of ridicule.

Although higher forms of violence usually receive a lot of media attention, it is only since the 2000s that the issue of bullying, characterized as emotional, verbal or physical abuse, started to be addressed by parents, teachers and researchers. According to 2010 statistics, 2.7 million students are bullied every year in the United States. One in seven students from kindergarten through 12th grade is a bully or has been a victim of bullying.