Change Starts With Us.
This week is anti-bullying week and the theme this year is ‘change starts with us’, which I absolutely love! To me this is about encouraging people not to underestimate the power of their voice in creating positive change.
This week, I would like to focus on promoting the power of being an upstander when we witness something wrong. I want to get more people speaking up, raising their voice and using it as a tool for good. I have seen so many people so scared to speak up, especially in school settings, because of the fear of how they will be seen and labelled and whether they will be targeted by the bullies themselves as a result. I know how difficult it can be, it can even feel a bit awkward if you don’t know the person, but it is so important.
I stood up for someone when I saw them getting bullied online, I told a member of staff. The person was incredibly grateful, and said that they really needed someone to help them tell someone what was happening. Getting bullied can make you feel so alone when you don’t feel able to talk to someone, and as someone who has been bullied on multiple occasions, I know how painful it is to suffer in silence.
Standing up for someone isn’t necessarily about getting directly involved with a particular situation, sometimes it can simply be telling someone who can help, like a member of staff or parent. Talk to the victim and make them feel less isolated, be a friendly face, give them a hug. Bullying has a massive impact on a young persons mental health and it is an experience that people generally never forget, but if they remember a friendly face as part of their story, someone they knew had stuck up for them in a bad situation, that can make such a big difference. I know it would have changed my experience, it would have meant everything for someone to show me that I wasn’t alone. It would have given me something positive to reflect on now, some special people to remember, and made me feel stronger. Because I felt like everyone was against me and must have agreed with what was going on because no one said anything, that was one of the worst parts.
Sometimes it can be hard for members of staff to spot bullying, and they might not always be sure of the bigger picture of a situation, so help them out. Tell someone what’s going on, there is no need for anyone to ever know that it was you, but do the right thing, please don’t stand by and do nothing because that won’t make anything better. By you taking the step to speak up, you will be helping the victim and the bully, there will always be more in place to support everyone involved than you think, including yourself.
We all have a role to play in standing up to bullying, and in making the world a kinder place. And whatever your role is, you can make a difference. Never underestimate the power that you have to flip a situation on its head and make it better, because you can do it. I know it can be difficult to go against the crowd sometimes and one of the biggest worries is that the bully's will turn on you but your school have a duty of care to everyone involved and you have the right to remain anonymous in your report, so please don't let the bully's silence you too. Standing up for someone really will make all the difference this will make to their life. Please use your voice.
Change Starts With Us.
And in keeping with this years theme, this week I will be welcoming some guest bloggers! They have all written about topics close to them in the hope to help and inspire you from their own experiences related to bullying and mental health. So keep a look out and show them lots of love for bravely sharing their stories this week! :)