The Bullying Epidemic


The world has indeed become smaller. Thanks to social media platforms which have enabled old friends to reunite and reminisce about the past: good and bad. A couple of weeks ago an old friend managed to track me down via Facebook. That reunion on Skype was one of my highlights of this year. To add to the celebratory mood, we each gave ourselves five minutes to go and crack open a bottle of wine.

Topics ranged from marriage, children, careers, weight gain and all those other things that long lost friends like to catch up on. We then went on to discuss our childhood. In our class there were forty odd children but we could not remember most people. The ones we could remember easily were the ones we liked and the ones who were good academically or in sports.

We then moved on to the one we all hated. In hindsight we should not have given her the almost one hour we dedicated to talking about her that night. The memory of what she used to do to us, smaller kids, was still vivid in our minds and it still hurt. I couldn’t agree more with Shane Koyczan when he said, “Bullying to me, starts at kindergarten age where the first thing we learn is to call each other names. Something so small can be so long lasting in someone’s life.”

Did the teachers and parents know about this girl? Yes they did. Did they do anything about it? Not quite. We were told to stay away from her. We did stay away from her but she still came to us. At that time none of us knew how to tackle such issues and this girl, whom we all hated, carried on with her business of bullying. Thirty something years later we are still talking about her.

Albert Einstein once said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” It is indeed time to take a stand against bullying. It is often wrongly assumed that bullying is restricted to the school playground. The most talked about type of bullying is cyber bullying. Most victims of cyber bullying are teenagers. Recently there have been instances where radio and television personalities have also been targeted. Bullying or harassment has become quite common in the workplaces as well.  

Unfortunately in New Zealand there are no policies in place that promise swift, punitive or deterrent measures to protect victims of bullying. At NBI we try to create an environment where individuals can feel accepted regardless of their social standing. We strive to give a voice to people who cannot speak for themselves.

Bullies must be held accountable.

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