Let’s keep talking about bullying

My Friday in France post will continue next week. Merci!

There’s so much more to say about the issue of bullying. I should have begun talking about this at the start of the week instead of yesterday. Never mind … it’s not just this week or next week or last week that we need to focus on bullying. This is an every day issue, folks!

>November 13 – 19, 2011 Theme: “Stand Up! (to bullying)

Rick Mercer is one of Canada’s most recognized television personalities. He’s a comedian, political satirist, blogger and very decent human being. Here’s his website. He makes us laugh. He makes us cry. He makes us think. Please watch these two “Rants” of his about bullying and pass them on. They speak volumes!

And this one …

The more current aberration of bullying – CYBERBULLYING - has become a serious problem that is even less controllable unless attitudes are changed. It’s so easy to hide behind your computer screen and send nasty hurtful messages.  For those who don’t know what this is , here’s a clear definition and an excellent website to access.

stopcyberbullying.org Download this article in DOC [Word] formatDownload this document in PDF [Acrobat] formatDownload this presentation in SWF [Flash] formatView a Flash presentation: What is cyberbullying? >

what is it? :: how it works :: why cyberbully? :: prevention :: take action :: what’s the law?

What is cyberbullying, exactly?

“Cyberbullying” is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.

When the topic of bullying comes up, there are few people who have not been affected. I clearly recall the day I had to visit the principal’s office when my eight-year-old son burst into tears getting ready for school and said, “I can’t take it any more, mom.” He then told me how one particular student had been picking on him for weeks and getting others to join in. My son was not small, he wasn’t big, he looked no different from any other regular kid but for some reason this other boy had singled him out.

You know as a parent how heartbreaking it is for your child to experience this kind of hurtful behaviour. The principal set up a meeting with the other boy’s mother and me. She was horrified to learn of his behaviour. The issue was resolved. Apologies were offered and eventually the boys became good friends. That’s how kids are.

Intervention is necessary and effective.

Speaking of stories, here is one other I hope you will read. Natalie Hartford is a fellow writer who has become a long-distance friend. She is a blogger extraordinaire who can make you cry with her Campaign against Drunk Drivers. Her connection to that is painfully real. She will also make you laugh out loud with her posts about, among other things, beer accessories … seriously … hilarious!  Her response today to my post yesterday on bullying is meaningful and touching. It’s her personal experience.Click here to read it. In fact … go read it, right now, I’ll wait for you …

I know how busy everyone is and how time is short but I hope you will find the time to take in all of this information. Let’s keep talking about this problem – in very loud voices – on a regular basis. If the schools in your area have anti-bullying programs, perhaps there is some way you can offer to help. It’s everyone’s issue and we should all do our part.

Here’s one easy way you can begin to help in Canada. Visit StopABully.ca and pass it on.

Thank you to everyone who sent me e-mails about their personal experiences. Every story is so touching. Young or old, bullying affects many people in a multitude of ways.  To quote our fearless blogging leader, Kristen Lamb, “We Are Not Alone” and I’m borrowing her mantra to share when it comes to bullying.  Speak up. Take action. Together we are a powerful force!

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10 responses to “Let’s keep talking about bullying

  1. Wow – I LOVE the Rick Mercer rants. They ROCK!!! And they totally get to the right point about bullying – seriously.
    Thanks for the amazing shout out Patricia – touched my heart. I cried when I read your super amazing caring words. Blew me away. Bless you!
    Thank you for bringing light to this serious topic to me, and a million others!!!

  2. Thanks for taking a stand on this, Patricia. As someone who got bullied and teased mercilessly growing up, this is an issue close to my heart.

    I think it’s important to also highlight the fact that bullying, especially cyberbullying, continues well into adulthood. The hashtag #mencallmethings surfaced a few weeks ago on Twitter as a way to make visible all the misogynistic and sexist slurs that are hurled at female bloggers on a daily basis, particularly whenever they try to take a stand against sexist issues and behavior. There’s more info here:
    http://geekfeminism.org/2011/11/08/quick-hit-mencallmethings/

    • Thanks for your input Lena and you are absolutely right. It happens to adults as well, for sure. It’s sad to hear you were bullied and I know you have written about that before. This is good info and I’ll tweet,f/b, etc about it. Let’s encourage the rest of our writing community to do the same. Onward!

  3. Patricia, this is an excellent series of posts and I’m so glad you are drawing attention to it. As you said, most people have been affected by bullying.

    I’m glad you and the bully’s mother were able to get things worked out and your sons went on to be friends. That’s a great story to focus on.

    • Thanks Bridgette – It’s a subject we often tend to read about and not do anything when we are not directly affected.With all of the tragic suicides recently that are strictly bullying related, I feel compelled to try and draw more attention to the problem. I hope that our voices will make enough noise to help in some way.

  4. Patricia, this is a very sore, nevertheless important, and ever-existing subject. I have the school-age children and they have already experienced bullying on more than one occasion.
    Fortunately enough this issue has been getting a lot of publicity lately, but there is still so much to be done.

  5. Great post and I think we should keep anti-bullying alive all year long, not just on one day! I’m so happy that your son’s situation was resolved, that is so scary for both the child and parent. Natalie’s post had me in tears, it was so raw and real. Both of you are amazing women!

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