|Together, we can make a difference|
I look back on my ninth grade year with mixed feelings. To be honest, I view much of my school year with disdain intermingled with the occasional fond memory. Usually, those memories occurred when I wasn’t serving as the punching bag for teenage boys with too much testosterone and something to prove. Other than the fact that they could bruise my scrawny frame, I’m not sure exactly what they were proving, but they did it with great zeal and it left a lasting impression.
Bullying is a real problem. It was back then and it still is today. According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 20% of students in grades 9-12 experienced bullying. That’s an astronomical number that needs to be erased. Even one is too many.
Bloggers against Bullies is a way for writers and artists to join together and take a stand. It is our desire to raise awareness through essays, stories, book excerpts, and art, bringing attention to what has too often been overlooked. Some have said that bullying is a part of growing up, sort of a rite of passage. Of course, this probably is only said by those who were bullies when they were younger, because someone who has suffered at the hands of others would never say anything as asinine. No one should have to go to school afraid.
Bullying can have severe effects. Not only does it threaten a student’s physical and emotional safety, but bullying can lead to depression and anxiety. The child suffering from bullying sometimes experiences changes in sleeping and eating habits. Their stomach is in knots, worrying about what abuse the next day will bring. They also have increased feelings of loneliness, especially if no one will intervene for them. It can also have a negative impact on their learning ability, They lose interest in school, not wanting to participate in order to avoid a confrontation. This could lead to them skipping for specific classes if not for the whole day. Their grades suffer, which damages their future. In extreme cases, a small percentage of those bullied may strike back in fatal ways. “In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.” It affects more than the bully and the bullied. Even the bystanders are at risk.
I remember those gut-churning feelings. I dreaded gym class because that’s when Aaron and Rueben would use me as their recreational device instead of picking up a basketball. Instead of a normal game of catch, they would toss me back and forth between them. You can only go to the clinic so many times to avoid being a punching bag. Sometimes, even those who were supposed to be my friends were no help, thankful just to be out of the bullies’ line of sight. I dreaded walking the halls and chose my seats in class very carefully.
|Stephanie Neighbour from Chucklespace|
When it comes to bullies, many of us have our stories to share. Bloggers against Bullies is the place, so that together we can not only bring awareness, but perhaps offer some hope to those who may be going through it at present. We’ll not only be sharing stories, but also some great information and help on what you can do to take a stand. In the days and weeks to come, you’ll see tips on what to look for as well as where to turn from writers who have been there and made it through.
However, we won’t be stopping there, because bullying is not just a school yard tragedy. It happens in the work place and in homes; it can happen anywhere and to anyone. It can even happen online. It doesn’t know race, gender, sexual orientation or age. Bullying is about an imbalance of power, whether real or perceived, between individuals. I’ve known of work places where that imbalance was rampant and used in detrimental ways. It is unwanted, aggressive behavior that continues to occur and can be verbal or physical in nature. I’ve known managers who only managed in these ways, creating an healthy work environment.
There were days that I went to school sick to my stomach because I knew what was coming the next day and there was nothing I could do about it. I’m still sick to my stomach, but now it’s for an entirely different reason. Now it’s because I know what it does to people and that it’s still going on. It’s time to say no more. It’s time to band together and give a voice to an issue that too many for too long have turned a blind eye to. Therefore, we’re asking bloggers to join us in a worthy cause. We’re all busy with deadlines and stories that we need to get on paper, but if enough of us join together, we can make a real difference.
Stephanie Neighbour from Chucklepsace.com and I are going to create a web page and blog and we want you to be a part of it. We’ll put a bio up of every participating writer with links to your works and pages.
We also have a Facebook page, Bloggers against Bullies that you can post things to by sending them directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll attach your name making sure you gain the credit. We would also appreciate it if you would add our button, Bloggers against Bullies, to your page, linking back to the web page once we have it built with all of our participants. If you are willing to stand by us in this cause and help us in bringing awareness to others, please contact either one of us.
I hope you take this as seriously as we do, because we need your help as do the children having to face each day knowing that at some point someone is going to make their life a living Hell. We cannot all give everything, but we can all do something, and with all of us making an effort to take a stand it may just change someone’s life. Won’t you join us?
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