Today is Bullying Education day in Edmonton. Bullying happens in the home, workplace, playground and in group situations. I was asked to take part in an education project on bullying. This story is what I presented. Meet Becky who represents many young girls in a school setting. I hear the stories and see the pain when working with youth in my office setting.
“Becky” was bullied in public school decades ago, before bullying was understood like it is today. There was a bully in her school who would tease, chase, and scare the younger students. He would lead other boys to do similar things. He was about 3 years older than Becky.
She was a Type 1 diabetic child, and having to go to the bathroom was a common occurrence and made her stand out. One day, when the teacher had left the school for an hour, the bully chased her into the bathroom and wouldn’t allow her to use it unless she used it with him present, adding that he wouldn’t leave. She refused and told him to leave her alone. He didn’t touch her but she was afraid of what might happen. She told no one. This kind of abuse was reported daily in their school, and not just with her.
The bully would even undermine the teacher so he could bully the kids on the playground. He seemed to know where the teacher was and he would go behind their back and do things that she would never find out about. Becky said that if he hadn’t been there, the school might have been a nice place to be.
In light of her experience over the years, she now thinks about how she never told anybody. She will never know what may have happened if she had. No help was available for either the abuser or victims in their small community. From what she hears, the guy is still a bully today – and he is in his 60’s now.
Becky has felt the impact left over from bullying, over the years. When she thinks back she can still feel that fear of being threatened and alone. No one else would come near him – everyone was afraid of him.
One outcome is it influenced her career. Her first job was as a social worker for battered/abused women. She now works with youth and marriage/divorce counselling. She helps kids build their self esteem so they feel better about themselves. Bullying can pull people down, and the people can find it hard to build self esteem. She always advises that kids go to their parents (if they can) and talk with them about issues and figure them out. Even so, kids are afraid to talk – the parents go to the school, and the bully is still there. Becky thinks that things are still not working, but doesn’t have the answer.
Becky doesn’t know what was going on in the bully’s childhood home. Even as an adult senior, he is still a bully. He’s a farmer, and other farmers are concerned. He’s very arrogant. He was at her family farm sale, which was a difficult time for her, and he was saying things against her father. Her father tells her that the bully has treated other men, families, etc. badly.
Let’s make sure we don’t bully anyone and teach our children not to bully either. Build trust with your child so that if such a situation happens to them, they will come to you and as an adult you can make the decision how to help!
I think of Reena Virk from Victoria, BC who was bullied in school and after school because of her race. She was a promising young woman with much life ahead of her. She was merely a child. She lost her life to bullies who beat and killed her. Our world lost that day, a young woman with so much to give.
Please take your stand against bullying!