Bullying Awareness Week: I was Bullied

I originally posted this on March 13, 2013, but I have updated it a bit in honor of Bullying Awareness Week, November 17 – 23, 2013.

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Human beings have always always needed leaders. Someone had to organize the fire brigade when the log cabin began burning down, right? The roots of competition, or as Darwin puts it – the “survival of the fittest”,  began long before modern man, and was already developing back in ancient times. Think about it. Who would win the race run when a Saber-Toothed-Tiger was chasing two men: the faster and more clever one, or the one with a bum leg and poor eyesight who didn’t see the hidden cave to the left?

We need to be aware of others’ strengths and weaknesses, because they help us in every aspect of life. The problem happens when those with perceived supremacy try to hold back or harm someone.

I found a well-written definition on the Australian Government’s page, “The Line,” which provides resources and information on dealing with difficulties personal relationships.

Bullying is a form of abuse, and is intentional, repeated intimidating behaviour (sic) by an individual or group that causes distress, hurt or undue pressure. In most cases there is a power play within the bullying, with the target been seen as weaker than the perpetrator(s). Continue reading

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Sticks and Stones – When Words Hurt

Bullying is as old as life itself. It can start pretty early in life, even in really young children, and just gets more pervasive as we age. It does seem like bullying is getting more intense and frequent.

Bullying takes many forms. Nobody – no matter your age, gender, bank account, geographical location, job, school, title – is exempt from either side. Bullies don’t always look menacing, and victims aren’t always the lowest man on the totem pole. Bullying is the use (perceived or real) of power or authority to coerce, intimidate or hurt others.

Bullying has been in the news constantly for years now. I still cannot forget the story of fifteen year-old Phoebe Prince, a high school freshman in Massachusetts who hanged herself as a result of “relentless taunting” by classmates in 2010. A girl with her entire life in front of her, Phoebe was so beaten down by the verbal bullying and threats of physical harm, that she believed she was better off dead than having to face her tormenters.

Thankfully, people are starting to rise up against bullying. Projects like The “It Gets Better” campaign, originally developed to target Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Youth, promotes openness, and support in the crusade against the effects of bullying. The Centers for Disease Control considers bullying of all forms as harmful to health. Even the federal government has taken a stand against bullying. But is it enough? Continue reading