Those who can, do. Those who can’t, bully

November 14 – 20 is National Bullying Awareness Week in Canada – but we should be aware of this at ALL times to prevent it. When we are teaching children, we often focus on the prevention of bullying – both physical and (more damaging) psychological – and now electronically (text, email, social media, etc.). This applies greatly to adults as well, both at home and in the workplace. Physical bullying is obvious – shoving, hitting, tripping – all too common in many places. Psychological bullying has a more lasting effect – name calling, picking on someone because of their culture/clothing/choice of companions, the dreaded “pinchy face” that girls will make when they disapprove of someone’s “taste”…the list goes on – and every adult has a story of someone who did that as children (and probably still recall details).

All bullying may lead to a physical assault unless it is stopped

In a research study conducted in 2009, over the course of two months, kids in grades 6 – 10 reported being bullied 20.8% physically, 53.6% verbally, 51.4% socially or 13.6% electronically.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, bullying is the most common form of violence in our society. In a national survey of students in grades six through ten in 2001, 13% reported bullying others, 11% reported being a victim of bullies, and another 6% said that they both bullied others and were bullied themselves. These numbers mean that over five million children are affected by bullying. The numbers are higher now.

 If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. ~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Be safe…listen when someone tells you they’ve been bullied or assaulted and report all assault. If you see someone in trouble, help out – not necessarily by getting in the middle of it, but call for help, dial 911 if necessary – don’t stand and watch like so many people do.

Here are some resources that should prove useful for everyone – remember this is not a only problem for children, that’s just where it starts – and where we need to stop it.

Please note: Even though we have screened these sites, we are not responsible for their content. Excellent resource for education and finding help – especially the page on Bullying. “Our mission is to equip patients and families with the best information, resources and tools to overcome addiction and lead a lifelong recovery.” Includes a 24/7 helpline.

Bullying Canada: Young people speaking out about bullying and victimization. Youth who know that one out of 4 kids are bullied, one out of 5 kids are the bully and that 282,000 high school kids are attacked each month nationally.

BBC Special: “Don’t show you’re angry or upset. If you don’t care, the bully can’t get to you.”

Autism Anti-Bullying Guide: “The Interactive Autism Network (IAN) conducted a large survey of nearly 1,200 children with ASD (ages 6 to 15), finding that an overwhelming 63 percent of the sample had experienced bullying.” A excellent resource from the folks at Action Behavior Centers LLC regarding the different cause/affect of bullying people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The guide features the latest facts and statistics, expert tips, and national resources to help combat bullying in the autism community.

Bullies To Buddies: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Remember that little ditty? Izzy Kalman (school psychologist and psychotherapist) argues that common approaches to verbal bullying (“find a teacher or adult”) are hampering kids abilities to learn to handle their own social situations, and reminds us that words only hurt us if we allow them to. In addition to the illustrated website, Kalman offers free guides for adults and kids in PDF. “Bullying stops in less than 10 seconds, most of the time when peers intervene on behalf of the victim. Intervene does NOT mean taking on or trying to confront or fight the bully, but rather, befriending the victim, ignoring the bully, talking and walking away with the victim.” Resources, Support and Intervention app for those affected by bullying, depression and suicide. Includes ready-access to instant phone hot line, crisis text line and trusted friends/family alert as well as free/near-free social services available within your zip code and surrounding location. Bully OnLine is the world’s largest resource on workplace bullying and related issues (somewhat dated looking, but excellent & up to date information – new site in the works)

Curtis Sliwa (Founder, Alliance of Guardian Angels) addresses the problem of bullies Video on YouTube

The Trevor Project: The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.

The It Gets Better Project: Their mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them.