It is only now that there are many widely publicized cases of where bullying has pushed someone over the edge that the problem is being truly recognized. It is tragic that it takes people to be killed (and anyone who commits suicide because of bullying has been indirectly killed by the bullies) before anyone will take a serious look at the problem, but thankfully the problem is being addressed. The big question for everyone involved is how can it be dealt with?
Bullying thrives in the dark, and cyber bullying relies on internet anonymity and non-physical presence as another form of darkness. The victims themselves often respond by hiding away, pulling into themselves. A solution to this whole is is to shine a light into the dark places, highlighting the bullies, and showing the victims that there is a solution, and that people care.
Several organizations have sprung up, such as Friend Movement, whose aim is to highlight the problem of bullying, to show how people have ‘survived’ and prospered despite being bullied, and present an anti-bullying message through art and media. Their philosophy is if everyone knows how to be a better friend, looking out for each other and showing kindness, there would be less bullying. Nowhere will this be better illustrated than in the film Friend, which aims to showcase the struggles that we face in the world today. Although this film is still in the works, the website and the personal appearances of the organizations members all work to spread the word about the issue, and the all important solution.
There are now many organizations around in many different countries, all of them Organizations against Bullying, with many different outlooks on the problem, but all geared to highlighting the issues and offering support and advice to victims – and even to bullies too, to help them reform. One thing many of these movements have in common, including the government run ones, is their embracing of modern technology to try and spread their message – this is the same technology that allows cyber bullying to flourish, but used for a far better cause. They are all using the electronic advances to shine a spotlight on bullying and fighting the effects of that particular darkness.
For someone who is being bullied, just knowing that there is someone there who knows how you feel and will listen can literally be a life saver. A friend can give you the support you need, both to resist the bully and to have the courage to speak up about it.
Anyone can be a friend, even to a total stranger, and really anyone who is willing to stand up against the bully can be counted as a friend. It is often loners, those with few friends, or those who are ‘different’ from the norm that are targeted by bullies, but these people need friends too. Ironically you do not even have to get along with someone to be their friend, but if you are willing to stand by someone in need and do the right thing, then you automatically fall into that category.
In an ideal world, everyone would be kind and friendly to all, but in this day and age, even more so than in previous decades, it seems that self-interest and rudeness is becoming the norm. This trend can be reversed if only we realize that everyone else is a human being like ourselves, with feelings and needs of their own, people that should be appreciated for who they are, and that everyone is a potential friend. It may sound a little cheesy, but this truly would be a better world if all people could just get along. Be friendly to all you meet, help those in need, stand up against those who would harm others, and pass on the message – Be a Friend.