The Anti Bullying Pledge: The Statistics & The Personal Effects Of A Bully
“Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away.” Donna Schoenrock
It is a sad but inevitable truth that today we are living in a society where bullying is so prevalent. It is affecting children of all ages, and in many forms: Physical, verbal, social, and cyber bullying are the governmental officials agreed upon terms to the specific methods of bullying at this time.
As parents, we want to do everything possible to protect our children from these cruel, heinous acts of bullying. But as we well know, we cannot stop everything that could potentially hurt our children.
Instead, we need to be armed with facts about bullying and share this knowledge with our kids, families and friends, so all of us, not just our children, will be well prepared and able to handle any kind of bully who decides to challenge your child, you, or a loved one. What I am sharing with you today is just ONE of the many ways to enforce the Anti Bullying Pledge and help spread the word.
In the United States alone, averages of 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 kids have been a victim of bullying (the statistical number is dependent on what type of bullying they were subjected to).
Children in the United States between middle school grades to senior years (6 -12) 28 percent have admitted experienced being bullied.
Children in the United States between senior grades only (9 – 12) 20 percent have experienced bullying.
But over 70 percent have admitted watching a victim at the mercy of a bully.
From the information gathered by the United States Government:
• The most common type of bullying is verbal (also referred to mental and/or emotional bullying). This type of bullying can come in the forms of bullies’ name calling or insulting a person, swearing or yelling at them, making a person feel isolated, and/or getting more people involved to help them mock or intimidate the person.
• Physical bullying happens less often but it does occur in the form of: 3 Hitting, pushing, slapping, spitting, tripping, destroying and/or stealing from someone. Bullying in the physical sense can cross the very thin line and turn into physical or sexual assault.
• Cyberbullying is the lowest ranked form of bullying statistically, but could that be due because it is still a relatively new method of bullying someone (especially compared to the “old-fashioned” type of bullying)? In the now there are telephone calls, (mobile or otherwise), texts, social media and communication sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, or YouTube for example are popular ways for a bully to seek out a person.
Although cyberbullying is the statistically the least used form of abuse that is no way implying that this kind of bullying is ‘more acceptable’ or ‘not as bad’ as physical and/or emotional bullying. All bullying is wrong.
In general, the majority of bullying occurs where children congregate the most: Schools, school grounds, school buses. A large study has been performed listing all the different places inside a middle school where bullying was most likely to take place. What they found was generally over 70 percent of students have witnessed bullying in their direct presence, but the findings were only about 20 – 30 percent of bully victims have confided to an adult or someone in authority about the bullying.
Numbers Have Been Tallied. That’s The Data. Here’s An Example Of The Personal.
Just knowing the statistics on this problem our nation is facing is not going to change anything. We are not writing up a thesis and just gathering the statistics, we are trying to protect children and stop this bullying population that seems to be getting worse. This is the whole moral behind the Anti Bullying Pledge.
The unfortunate truth is bullying can leave lifelong scars on victims in every possible way. Here is an example:
I interviewed my best friend specifically for this article. Lauren and I met after we were out of public school and college for many years and were starting our families. We were the same age, but we grew up in different states, in different towns. I lived in the city of Chicago, and she lived in a tiny Michigan town where everyone knew everyone else. She and her husband eventually moved to my part of Chicago. We first met in Lamaze class and the ice broke when both of us were guilty of catching the giggles at some of the breathing lessons we were shown (despite our husbands’ embarrassment). I instantly liked her. She had a great personality; she seemed so happy, this bubbly, thirty-year old first-time mother. We were inseparable in a matter of weeks. But when Lauren offered to talk about bullying for this project I was working on, I would have never believed what she said if I hadn’t heard it with my own ears. This attractive, slim, blonde-haired beauty that always reminded me of Grace Kelly…
“To be totally honest, I did not want to have children. This was a real cat and dog type of fight my husband and I would have, because he is pure Italian. He wanted to have a nice, huge family. For me, thinking about all those babies turning into toddlers then growing into school age children and all the things children have to put up with growing up, it was just so overwhelming to me. I usually ended the discussion in tears.
“But I never really confided to my husband about how mercilessly I was bullied in school. Every single day since about the First Grade I can remember an insult, something someone made fun of me of, an awkward and terrible situation I would find myself in. And I never wanted to do that to anyone else if I could avoid it.
“You know how every class has a ‘FAT KID?’ I was bestowed that title. I was an emotional eater. My mother wasn’t a very good mother, and my father was non-existent. Adults in my life would give me a candy bar or lollipop if I was being too irritating and that did the trick. I was as happy and gentle as a Hindu cow. But the older I got, the more reliant on got on food as my crutch, and soon I was a full blown emotional eater.
“Being fat when you are a kid is more difficult than I think anyone could ever imagine. Finding the ‘FAT KID’ in your class is always a relief for others, because we are such a prime target. Not to say other kids who suffered from acne, braces, thick glasses or whatever didn’t get bullied. But I was relentlessly bullied due to my weight.
“I self-harmed terribly. I attempted suicide many times. I ran away from home. I did everything I could to punish myself for being the way I was.” (Here Lauren takes a deep breath and looks out her window at our daughters playing together.) “Now here I am. I somehow made it to adulthood. Lost my weight and starting living my life the way I wanted to, but I still think people look at me as the ‘FAT GIRL.” I have scars that will not fade from knives I used to hurt myself. I see a psychologist twice a week and my medicines cabinet looks like it is for an old person with 15 series medical problems. And it is what I take for myself to keep my mind going.” (At this point Lauren chuckles to herself, part sarcastically, partly full of hurt. She hastily rubs a tear from her eye.)
“I just don’t want that to happen to her.” (Here she gestures to her daughter outside playing Tag with my own.) “I want to succeed where the adults in my life failed me. I did ask for help. I was told to ‘ignore the bullies.’ But when you are 13 years old, it is hard to ignore an entire class of your piers mimicking cow noises when you had to walk to class. No one should have to endure the brutality of that just pain, cruel situation. And for me, that was nearly twenty years ago! I remember it like yesterday! How is it going to be when our daughters are school age? And some bully finds a reason to make fun of her? It would devastate me all over again, for her sake.
“That’s why I don’t want to have a lot of children. Because I am afraid they will experience what I endured.”
Lauren is currently pregnant with her second child and she and her husband agree that will be enough. She did eventually tell him about being bullied.
The purpose to this article was to put into perspective just how many people get bullied, and how it can affect them for the rest of their lives.
If you have a child who is being bullied, you now have the statistics and an example of how serious it can affect a person forever. So what is the answer?
We can’t stop bullies, but we can stay educated, pull together as a pact, and take the Anti Bullying Pledge to protect each other.
As adults we have to teach our children not to take this unwarranted abuse and also to stand up for someone that may not be as strong as them.
Because everyone needs to take the Anti Bullying Pledge:
This is for me…
…my friends today…
And my friends tomorrow
I think being mean stinks…
I won’t watch someone get picked on
Because I am a do something person…
…not a do nothing person.
I can help change things
I can be a leader
In my world there are no bullies allowed.
Bullying is bad…
Bullying bothers me.
I know sticking up for someone is the right thing to do…
My name is (your name)
And I won’t stand by…
I will stand up.