It’s anti-bullying week from 16 to 20 November, and this year the theme is ‘United against Bullying’. For me, this theme means that we all need to work together to solve the problem of bullying.
One of the main problems of bullying is that victims feel that they can’t speak out about their experiences. Bullying is one form of abuse that normally involves perpetrators repeatedly carrying out abuse. Perpetrators usually pick on someone that they feel is weaker than them or in a situation where they can’t stand up for themselves, can’t speak out about what’s happening to them, in fear of what may happen, that no-one will believe them or that the bullying will get worse. So, during anti-bullying week, we can encourage people to talk to one another and to feel safe to talk about what’s happening them, to know that they will be supported, without judgement.
Another aspect that’s important to understand is why perpetrators bully others. We know that they are usually victims themselves; sometimes violence at home and sometimes they have been bullied themselves. What’s likely is that the bully and the victim both suffer mental health problems.
It’s important to remember empathy and understanding of others. It’s important to try to understand what it’s like to stand in someone else’s shoes and be in their situation. Taking responsibility for our actions is a good place to start.
It’s also important to understand the impact of the internet and social media in our modern world, especially with its new role due to the recent pandemic. It needs to be understood that something written on the internet can still hurt. There is a real person behind every account that may feel vulnerable, emotional, and capable of being hurt. The hatred that’s aimed at a person may be absorbed into feelings of very low self-worth.
It’s time for us to talk about bullying and the impact that it can have on everyone. We must never turn away when someone is seeking support, and like this week’s theme, we must tackle this together.