Teasing, pushing, isolation, fear, misunderstanding, intimidation, and sadness – what do all these words have in common? The source – each of these words relates to bullying.
Picture this scene from Unmaking a Bully, “Russell rips the paper out of the boy’s hand and wads it up. He kicks a boy as he’s tying his shoelaces, knocking him over. He steals milk from classmates at lunch. Although this Russell is fictional, he is a bully, as old-fashioned as he is modern. His type has been around forever making fun of kids, calling names, intimidating, punching.”
Most of us know the term bullying, and even think we’ve been a victim at some point or another, but what we may not realize is that bullying can extend beyond the schoolyard scenario from above. The full truth is harder to understand, first, that this is a very old problem that typically involves direct acts of cruelty or domination of one person to another. Second, that bullying is both a direct act of violence and also an indirect form through its consequences. Third, it happens everywhere, including at home, in church, and in the neighborhood. Fourth, and most important, is that the consequences of bullying affect children and families everywhere.
Some of these effects can be seen through school attendance, just recently, Stomp Out Bullying reported that “as many as 160,000 students stay home on any given day because they’re afraid of being bullied.” Another story involves a little girl so scared of being bullied that she had plastic surgery to avoid the experience. The truth is that no matter where or when bullying happens, it creates an environment of fear, distress, and negativity for anyone exposed. This negative environment can have lasting, long-term effects on children even into adulthood, lead to suicide, and a continued cycle of violence.
Bullying is an epidemic, and to fight back October is named National Bully Prevention Awareness Month, and October 3, 2011, National Bully Prevention Awareness Day, will kick off activities for the month. The goal of awareness month is to show the severity of bullying, and that it is important to take it seriously.
So, each week this month, follow our blog for new stories and resources about bullying and prevention. Also, check out the Safe Start Center website http://www.safestartcenter.org for an introduction to Awareness Month, interviews with experts on the subject, and more bullying statistics.
You can also take a look at the following information and resources on bullying just to get yourself started.
National Centre Against Bullying
Filed under: Exposure to Violence, Prevention, Public Awareness, Research | Tagged: awareness, bullying, children, national bullying prevention awareness month, practice, prevention, public awareness, public health, Safe Start, Violence Prevention | Leave a comment »