Saturday, 17 March 2012

Bullying: No way

Bullying has finally hit community consciousness, and schools in particular are doing a great job in educating children and young people and by maintaining a zero tolerance for bullying behaviours.

But bullying still exists.

It comes from the holders of power in any situation exercising that power to oppress those perceived as different;

Different in race, colour, gender, beliefs, size, physical appearance, ability or disability, sexuality, status...just different.

Bullying can be
  • physical - hitting, pinching punching
  • verbal - teasing, put downs, spreading rumours
  • social - excluding
  • threatening
It can be done directly, face to face or indirectly by social media, and even by laws

It has can be a one-off or can continue over a period of time.

But it needs to be stopped.

Power differentials are part of life.

Parents are more powerful than children, but when that power is used to scream abuse, to put a child down, or to physically hurt a child: it is bullying.

Groups are generally more powerful than individuals but when a child or young person is deliberately excluded from games or social networks: it is bullying.

Men are generally more powerful than women,physically and often economically, but when women are passed over for promotion by the 'boys' club', or abused constantly by their partners: it is bullying.

And bullying is apparent in the way the dominant culture in our country treats new migrants, asylum seekers and worst of all, boat people.

So how do we change the culture of bullying?

Firstly we recognise it and describe the behaviours as bullying.

We work to recognise the rights of all people to feel safe, and to have their differences respected.

We learn to resolve conflict in a calm, positive way where all parties feel heard, and where the parties are helped to find a solution that they can all live with.

We encourage in our children a positive attitude to themselves and those around them, teach them to be assertive, not aggressive and encourage them to get help when they feel unsafe.

We need to continue to pressure all levels of government to respect all people, and to protect them by their policies and by legislation.

We may not be able to stamp out bullying overnight, but the process needs to start
  • in our homes
  • in our childcare centres, kindergartens, schools, junior sports clubs
  • in our community, in the media, sports clubs
  • at a governmental level: local, state, federal and international.
Today is the National Day against Bullying and Violence.
Find out more at

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