4 Ways Bullies and Victims Can Unite – Together, Stronger
I have been searching online for any discussion about bullying and victims being united in confronting the issue of bullying in todays society whether it be children or adults. Sadly I have been unable so far to find any discussion of this. I believe one way the problem of bullying can be tackled in today’s society is by both bullies and victims working together to shed light on all facets of it.
In order to overcome a problem and change lives whatever the problem one must understand the whole picture. Bullying is a touchy subject for a variety of reasons such as legal, social, feeling ashamed and embarrassed from both sides of the coin. In this post I will look at 4 ways Bullies and Victims Can Unite to bring awareness of the effects of bullying, reasons for it continued occurrence and how we can create a better future for our children.
Supervised Apologies And Forgiveness
The first step I believe that needs to occur is for both bullies and victims to share apologies and forgiveness with one another. For safety of the victims and to ensure the bullies appreciate the seriousness of their actions I believe it should be supervised by a teacher or school administrator such as a principal.
I remember in school being forced to listen and also say sorry for actions either done by me or done to me by other students. I do not believe it will work if it is forced upon the students. Each of them will need to be open to the experience in order for it to have a lasting effect each of them. Victims might be in fear the bully will turn around and do it again when no one is watching. The bullies might be upset with the victims and seek to punish them for the supervised apologies.
This is why I believe supervising apologies and forgiveness are not enough alone. It might make the teacher or principal feel like they have done their job and can sleep soundly. But I do not believe it is something that does anything to leave a lasting change in both bullies and victims.
Instead, what I envision is a way both bullies and victims can find common ground. Believe it or not when I was a victim of bullying I STILL wanted the acceptance of those bullying me. And from what I have read many bullies are dealing with problems in their own lives that leads them to turn to bullying to try to deal with the pain they are feeling. Why shouldn’t our children learn a valuable life lesson that we are all more similar than different?
Bullies and victims should instead come together and create something from which future generations of children can benefit.
Starting Anti-Bullying Clubs Together
Bullies and victims alike could start anti-bullying clubs together at their school to bring awareness of why bullies choose to bully other children and how it is both destructive for them and their victims. Victims of bullying could share their experiences of being bullied and how self-confidence plays a big part in speaking out about being a victim of bullying. By working together they could learn to see each other not as bully and victims but instead as equals with different problems they are working on.
Some of you may be thinking but Jody the victims should receive all the attention and be protected at all costs. I understand this feeling. I would not want my child to be the victim of being bullied, be a bully nor witness bullying and do nothing about it. I was bullied as a child and understand the pain. I also believe had my bullies and I been able to build something together the bullying would have not occurred anymore.
The relationships we had would have changed and had we seen bullying being done together would have stood up to it. My bullies would have had to work on their problems as I would have had to work on mine.
Instead, I LIVED my WHOLE SCHOOL LIFE in fear, from grade school up to the end of high school. Deep down I just wanted to be accepted by them. I could not understand why they were doing the things they did.
Realistically forming a club may not work for all children involved. Some bullies may have serious issues that a club on its own can not resolve. They should be given every opportunity to receive expert help in dealing with their problems. Some victims the pain may be too much to deal with to work alongside their bullies and this should be respected.
I believe there needs to be a way to level the playing field and I see this as one way to accomplish this. Participating in other activities is another.
Group Participation In Activity Clubs
Participating in a group ACTIVITY CLUB is another way children both bullies and victims can become united and see each other as equals. If you see someone as your equal you are less likely to want to treat them poorly. Participating in activity clubs together is one way this can be accomplished.
Think about the last concert, sporting event, activity club or party you went to as an adult. Most likely you enjoyed being around those other people if it was something you choose to do because you enjoyed the activity. I believe this is also possible for our children. By participating in activity clubs like chess, sports teams, science groups, math clubs and many more our children become equals in those groups.
The more opportunity they get to be equals I believe will increase the likelihood they see each other and themselves differently and will help stop the bullying.
I recall in middle school one such moment in my life. I was playing goalie on an intramural hockey team and played amazing. I was stopping all the shots as was the other teams goalie. The game went past our allotted time and the next classes had actually started but we were allowed to keep playing. It was tremendous fun.
The thing I remember was some kids who bullied me were both playing and watching the game. Those watching in the stands started chanting Jody, Jody, Jody because some saves I made were ones that should have gone in. I was in the zone and on fire.
It was not meant to be though as the other team finally scored the winning goal. The thing that stood out to me at the time was the other children who came up to me after the game and congratulated me on playing great! Some of them were my bullies. They saw me in a different light other than being their victim. They saw me as an equal and treated me as such.
Activities clubs can bring this opportunity to our children for both bullies and victims to see themselves as equals whatever the activity.
Speaking Together About Experiences Of Bullying
I believe had my bullies and myself been able to talk about our experiences of bullying with other children sharing our unique experiences it would have helped both ourselves and those children listening to become better individuals and stand up to future occurrences of bullying in our lives.
I saw a video one time about two men, one a Muslim man and the other a hate group man from the Southern United States I believe it was. There had been a shooting in a mosque that the Muslim man belonged to. His father had died trying to protect the other members who attended the mosque. Many people died. The shooter had belonged to the same hate group the other man had belonged to previously.
Actually the man was one of the hate groups founding members and after learning about the shooting felt a great sense of guilt over what had happened. He decided to reach out to the Muslim man to ask for forgiveness and say sorry for starting the group. This is a man who is still covered in tattoos. What became of that first meeting was a life long friendship and partnership in speaking out about hatred and prejudices against people of Muslim faith.
Today they meet regularly to discuss their next course of action. They ask each other about their families and lives. They learned that they are very alike in many ways and share respect for one another.
I want a world were bullies and victims have this opportunity available for themselves. All people want to be loved, secure and happy. They may go about it in different ways but when they can break through the illusions that cloud their eyes and see the “other” as they really are, then they will start to treat them as if they are our brother and sister.
When people we consider to be our brothers or sisters whether it be by blood or not we will not tolerate any threats against them. It’s a basic human reaction and I believe can help end bullying by changing the culture of it.
Our children regardless of their background are more a like then different when you dig down. I believe this message is not shared enough today.
Read more on signs and the silence surrounding bullying HERE.
Thank you for your time,