Editorial: Bullying is the mark of a coward

Kids need to feel safe from bullies and be able disclose

February 25 is Anti-Bullying Day. People are encouraged to wear a pink shirt to show they are taking a stand against bullying. But what is bullying exactly? If you take the dictionary meaning it says; to treat abusively; to affect by means of force or coercion; to use browbeating language or behaviour. That word could be applied to anywhere from the workplace to home to sibling rivalry.

Pink Shirt Day is about bullying in schools and on the playgrounds. It has been extended to include on-line and text bullying. Bullying is a destructive and psychologically painful experience which can trigger suicide along with destroying self-esteem and confidence. Kids get bullied all the time and this is unacceptable. Adults only get bullied if they allow it to happen. Adults have the means to counteract and affect change for themselves, kids do not.

So what does one do if they are being bullied or if they know someone is being bullied? They take a stand. They talk to someone. Most bullies back down rather quickly once confronted. It is the bully who is the coward and most likely it is a learned behaviour. Bullies, unfortunately, can be other kids and they can be adults. Kids should be encouraged to talk to a parent, teacher, grandparent or someone they trust. They should have a safe haven in any business in Sooke where they can tell someone what is happening. Parents and guardians should ensure they have created a climate where kids will talk to them about what is happening, where disclosure is encouraged and judgement is suspended.

Bullying in the workplace happens as well, but it isn’t quite the same thing. The word “bullying” is being used so frequently it becomes a catch word for all sorts of actions. Bullying is about extremely aggressive behaviour, intimidation and bluster and it is only effective if one lets it happen. The best defense is a united stand against bullies wherever it happens. Talk to your kids.