I was introduced to BKO via twitter earlier this year and immediately wanted to become involved in some way. Bullying now is even more prevalent than it was when I was a teenager and it doesn’t start or end in your teens. Children as young as four are teasing others, being unkind, and adults are using social media as a way to belittle others, to be unkind.
It seems as though every day we hear of teens committing suicide, feeling as though their lives are not worth living. Bullying is dangerous and as a society we are all responsible for putting a stop to this. But the question is how?
I don’t have the answer to that unfortunately but I do think that together we can find the answer. I believe it starts with us. We need to be kind…to show the way. We need to resist the urge to make negative comments about others, the way they dress, what they eat, or how they parent. We need to take judgment out and replace it with understanding. We must teach our children that people are good, kind and that when others are hurting we must not ignore but help. When we see bullying we must not sit idly by or join to “fit in” but be true to ourselves and defend those who need it.
We all have a bullying story to share whether we were bullied or a bully ourselves. Let’s share it and use it to help others. It is never too late to apologize for our actions. We all make mistakes and whether you were 5 or 50 when that mistake was made, an apology can make all the difference. Bullying comes from a place of insecurity, and a person who bullies usually feels as though they need to have power, to control. Sometimes they were bullied too.
My bullying story goes like this. I was 10 and had recently moved to a new town and knew no one. I started my school feeling nervous and it obviously showed. I had moved schools before but within the same town. I had prepared myself as best I could at the time, I wore the latest fashion, and had everything I thought I needed but was new. I walked into class with a smile, tried to spot the popular kids, tried to find where I should fit in. I was doing ok, made a friend quite quickly and thought I was doing well until the day it changed….
The first incident was in sewing class, we were all making a little patchwork bag and one girl got up, walked towards me and poked me in the behind with a needle. I jumped and turned bright red when I heard giggling behind me, in a matter of minutes two other girls followed and tears started to form in my eyes. I was devastated but my biggest mistake was I never said a word. That afternoon in the playground they came up to me and started laughing, talking about how they thought I would pop! It was cruel, mean and had an impact on me I don’t think they even realized. I laughed as I walked away shaking with tears in my eyes and thought it was over. Of course it wasn’t and there were a few more incidents until they were caught pushing me into a locker after gym class. Then the children really feared the teachers, their parents and the consequences they received for their actions, now unfortunately this is NOT the case.
The internet has become a breeding ground for bullying in it’s new form, cyber bullying is a way to bully without seeing the impact, it is easier to hurt people when you don’t have to look them in the eye. I see it when I scroll through comments on websites, people leaving anonymous, hurtful comments about others, I hear about it in the media, Twitter, Facebook, police tracking people down after they have made threats. It is a different world now and we need to prepare our children for it, prepare ourselves and make sure we find a way to end it, with kindness, with love and the best way to do that is with awareness!
Bullies Keep Out is important, we need to spread the word that bullying needs to end, spread the word that there is help for those suffering, that there are ways to help others. It is NEVER ok to bully someone, NEVER ok to feel bullied, NEVER ok to watch or know of someone who is being bullied and not help.
As Ghandi himself said “We must BE the change we wish to see in the world”
Written by Deborah Carroll