My last two Family Talk columns have been about and the , a subject I feel very strongly about. I have been fortunate that so far, neither of my children have been victims to bullying.
After my column was published, it didn’t receive many comments; however some people reached out to me via e-mail. One of the hardest to read was from a woman I have known for years, I had no idea the nightmare her family had endured with bullies. Her child had suffered so much that they had attempted suicide. I cried as I read it, no-one should have to suffer like that.
I had my own run-ins with bullies in high school. I was mostly left alone in school because I had some great friends, but the bus was a different story. There was a gang of girls that took great delight in making my ride home miserable. I toughed it out, and one day I found a friend that had the same sarcastic sense of humor as me and with his support I began standing up for myself.
Lots of children get bullied in school and on the bus, and tragically they don’t have friends to stand up for them. Some people stay quiet out of fear; if they stand up for their friend the bully may turn on them. Other kids simply turn a blind eye; they don’t see why they should get involved.
Imagine if everyone took a stand–what if we all told the bullies we are not going to be silent witnesses? How many bullies would stop if they knew the victim had support? How do you think victims would feel if they knew that friends and strangers would support them? By empowering the victims we would be stripping the bully of their power.
While researching my column I found a website for an organization that holds an annual International Stand Up to Bullies Day. They encourage everyone to wear a pink shirt to send a message to bullies that they will not tolerate their hateful behavior, and it lets victims know who is an ally.
This year, Stand Up Day is this Friday, March 30. I ask all of you to please wear a pink shirt, let us lead our kids by example and send a message to schools. If you don’t have a pink shirt, tie a pink ribbon around your wrist, wear a pink scarf or tie. Do something, don’t be another silent witness and sit back and do nothing.