Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bullying - So Not Cool.

**Ok, so I wrote this post for another blog a few years back, but I think since bullying seems to be such a hot topic at the moment, that it was prudent to re post this.**

This topic is a lot more serious then the most stuff I choose to write about, and it hits a lot closer to home.
I am talking about bullying. The effect it has on the people bullied, the bullies themselves, the repercussions for seeking help when you are the victim and the response of the people who are meant to help with the problem.

Bullying is a massive problem. Yes, there are groups out there that have been established to help the victims of bullying, but how much can they actually help if their actions are not adhered to in society?

It's much too easy for people to look the other way then to take a stand. It happens every day, in so many different environments, be it within the school yard, the work place or even within your own household.

I personally have witnessed it on many occasions and while I can say I tried to stop it, I must also admit, that most of the time, my efforts were met with little success.
I have seen friends bullied at school. On one occasion, I walked into a bathroom to see a girl I knew being beaten up by two other girls. I stepped in and they stopped. When I took the girl who had been beaten up to the office, her mother was called and she pulled the girl out of school that same day and nothing was either said or done to the bullies.
I have seen a colleague belittled by his boss on a daily basis and unable to do much about it as his boss was a close mate of the company's CEO. On the occasion that he did report the harassment, the next day he copped it even worse when the boss had found out he had complained. Its more then a little ridiculous when you have to fear such repercussions from someone so childish.
I have also seen domestic disputes that could easily be compared to bullying.

The incident that bought this back to my attention happened to a young man I have known my whole life. He is the closest thing I have to a little brother and it makes me feel literally sick in my stomach when I think about this.

He is in high school, Grade 9, and he and a couple of his mates were being bullied by a couple of boys in the grade above. I'm not talking about just calling them names, but the kind of bullying where people get hurt. Which is exactly what happened in this case. One of his friends was beaten so badly that he is now is hospital, the other has also left the school after a similar beating. My friend is the only one who continues to persevere. He goes to school every say, knowing that it is going to be hell, because as he says, the day that he doesn't turn up is the day that they win. It's hard not to admire someone like that.

The school has been told about this problem. The beating that lead the boy to being admitted to the hospital was actually caught on a videophone and yet the school does nothing. They say they are unable to help. Not good enough I say!

This makes me furious, what more do they need? Hitting another person is assault. It's a crime! One people have gone to jail for.

The parents of the child in hospital are planning to sue the school, and so they should. It is the responsibility of the school to ensure that their students are safe whilst in their care.
I want to know why this incident hasn't gone further? Why aren't the police involved? Why aren't the media all over it? Where are those shonky current affairs programs when you need them to fan the fire to get some action?

The Australian Government has created a program called "Bullying. No Way!", but it seems to be somewhat redundant when schools do not enforce the policies laid out. They claim that they are making a difference, but are they really?

It is never ok to make someone feel like crap. It is never ok to stand by and let someone do this to another person. Could you honestly say that you could handle it if you were in their shoes? That the snide comments and the rude remarks about anything from the standard of your work, to how you dress, to what you eat, would not wear you down after a while? Could you look yourself in the eye when you stand in front of a mirror and know that you did everything you possibly could to prevent this from happening?

Ok, end of rant.

That's it from me.

Be awesome to each other.