Your editorial on bullying in last week’s Summerland Review was excellent.
The initiative to make Summerland an anti-bullying town is also a very worthwhile cause.
I would like to suggest that along with trying to stop bullying from taking place, that we help those people being bullied by teaching them ways to take back their personal power.
It has been said that a bully is really a coward underneath, and someone with low self esteem and very few social skills. They often have been bullied themselves and have learned this behaviour, perhaps even from abusive parents. Having the knowledge that there are things we can do to stand strong against their attacks can be the first step in escaping their torture.
In the case of domestic abuse the victim needs to know that they can go before a judge and apply for a restraining order and have the abuser removed from the home. In the case of an abusive employer the employee may have to resort to using the labour laws against the employer, or else seek other employment.
It takes courage and strength to be brave enough to take action, but if you are at your breaking point it is well worth it to escape from the bully.
When it comes to cyber bullying it is very simple to block a person from finding you on Facebook and it is also possible to block emails from anyone you don’t want to communicate with. I recently asked a young person “why don’t kids just block the people who are bullying them from their Facebook account?”
She answered “because they want to see what the bullies are saying about them.” (When you block someone, you cannot see or find them either.)
Herein lies part of the problem. To escape a bully you must act as if they do not exist. You have to ignore them, and not respond or react to them. You must not engage with them in any way. This too takes great strength to do, but in time if they get no response they lose interest and move on. These ideas may not work in every case, but I know firsthand they do work for some.
It may seem like we are not getting anywhere with the problem of bullying, but I see we have made progress albeit slowly.
For instance; it is no longer legal for principals and teachers to strike or strap a student.
Parents today no longer believe hitting their children is an acceptable way to discipline them.
Child molesters are now held accountable for their actions.
The law no longer turns a blind eye towards domestic abuse.
We have labour laws in place to protect employees.
It is no longer socially acceptable to discriminate against someone because of race, religion, or sexual orientation.
Governments have also been held accountable for past wrongdoings in their treatment of people. I have seen these changes all come about in my lifetime.
I believe we will continue to make progress against the bullies of our world, the more we shed light on the problem, by continuing to talk about it and by standing strong together against them.