Did you know that 1 in every 4 Australians are a victim of bullying? Scary number isn’t it?
The thing about bullying is that most people are ashamed or too scared to ask for help or advice to deal with the issue. This is because of the stigma related to bullying, it’s believed that bullies choose their victims for specific reasons and will “punish” them if they seek help or ask for assistance. In some cases this is true, but the people who are aware of the bullying will protect the victim and ensure that a stop is put to it.
From a personal point of view, bullying has affected my life from a young age, from name-calling, to physical incidents to cyber-bullying I’ve coped bits of it all. I was a target of an online situation, after I made a mistake, this involved me in becoming very low and experiencing some nasty moments. I did believe I deserved it, I believed that they were only doing to me what they thought I deserved. But I was wrong. I confided in some close friends and they helped me see that it was not my fault, I also made some very strong friendships from people who saw what was going on and genuinely cared for me, people I didn’t even know before I was publicly name and shamed, for no true reason. Bullying stole my self-confidence, stole my love for life and worse of all, it stole my happiness. Two months on and I am still being constantly reminded of that incident, it will be something that I’ll never escape, I will be forever bullied for one mistake. For that, I want to make a difference and put a stop to bullying.
One of the reasons I created Be Buddies not Bullies was to show parents, children and teachers just how much bullying can affect someone’s life and enable them with ways to control and prevent bullying situations. I also want to stop situations, like mine, from nearly claiming people of their lives. Bullying is a big thing, it affects it’s victims in more ways. The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is so wrong. Words can hurt you, if you are constantly called nasty and horrible names you will begin to believe it, mentally this will affect any bully victim and can lead to depression.
Parents are sometimes not aware of the signs of their children being bullied, which is due to the lack of information of signs to look out for. Any change in a child’s behavior, the unwillingness to talk, withdrawn from social activities or a child/teenager wanting to change who they are, are all signs that someone may just be bullying them. Being a big support, and a comfort is the most important thing to do.
I believe that no one needs to be bullied. No matter if they have made a mistake, are different, smart or any excuse bullies might use I believe we all have the right to live bully free.
As your mother always says, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Written by Amy
Be Buddies not Bullies