Bullying isn’t part of our DNA. It’s a learned social behaviour that people pick up either at home or at school. They see the predatory side of their peers in the schoolyard and swear that it will never be them on the end of an attack. In order to do this, they adapt. They conform to social trends in appearance, entertainment and even snack food in order to minimise their chance of being the next victim.
We talk about change, but it’s a vast minority that is prepared to do the work that would be involved to obliterate bullying. We say that we are waiting for another victim that’s willing to be the public face of a campaign like this, knowing that it would be a rare individual who would do this. We say that it’s just ‘too hard’ and it sends the subliminal message to the bullied that the cause isn’t worth it. That they aren’t worth it.
The prevailing myth that bullying is something we all have to endure, either as bully, victim or observer continually echoes around us. Of course, if this were truth and not fiction, there wouldn’t be so many campaigns against bullying. As the years have passed, this statement has been eroded as we’ve become increasingly aware of the consequences of bullying. Earlier this year in America, a teenage girl took her life after enduring several months of bullying from her classmates. Take a moment to consider that last sentence. It was so bad for her that suicide was the only option that she could see. It has been reported that on the day after her suicide that her tormenters even went so far as to post ‘accomplished’ on her Facebook wall. Her tormenters have since been charged with a range of crimes including civil rights violation and criminal harassment.
Suicide as a result of bullying isn’t a new thing. In the past, it wasn’t reported or even spoken of, lest we inspire other victims of bullying to take that same path.
VICTIMS: If you are reading this, there are people out there who are willing to help you in the battle against bullies, but they can only hear you if you speak out and let them know your pain.
That being said, action needs to be taken now in order to eradicate bullying from first the education system. My suggestion is a change in legislation which would enforce a police-able zero tolerance bullying policy on all schools and educational institution that receives any form of funding from the government. This policy would cover the actions of not just students and teachers, but also outside contractors connected with the school. After it was installed, if a school were to ignore instances of bullying then there would be a monetary fine to be paid to charitable institutions that work with victims of bullying.
To make this change in legislation would mean a lot of work. It’s proposing that schools would finally be held accountable for ignoring the violations of human rights that occur within.
Bullying isn’t just something that affects the bully or the victim. There are further reaching consequences that we cannot know until they happen. And it isn’t just up to the parents to speak up about how bad things can be.
I feel like I’m rehashing the same things that we all know, or should know.
Things need to change. We cannot claim ignorance any longer.
Places to look for help:
Kids help line