From 19-23 November, the Anti-Bullying Alliance will be helping the UK observe Anti Bullying Week 2012.
Some may shrug their shoulders and move on, but for those affected by bullying life is not so easy.
Anti-bullying week is an opportunity to send out the message that we are better without bullying, and to educate people about bullying in all of its overt and insidious guises.
Bullying is normally unprovoked and sustained, rather than an isolated incident. The bully’s aim is to humiliate, control or cause harm. It can occur anywhere, at home, at school or in the work place, and in this age of technology the internet has opened new opportunities to cyber- bullies. Bullying takes many forms and can be physical, verbal or social. Anyone can be the target, even celebrities and sporting stars.
Many people feel that teasing is a normal part of growing up, but it doesn’t always remain so innocent. The National Bullying Survey in 2006 showed that 69% of UK children reported being bullied, and that 87% of parents said their child had been bullied over the last 12 months. The survey specified that 71% of victims had been physically hurt and 34% had required medical attention. These are daunting figures.
Victims are left feeling demoralised and helpless, some frightened to leave their homes. Children may become withdrawn, avoid certain places and show behavioural changes. The effects of bulling can be crippling for its victims, often leading to low self-esteem and depression.
There are many ways to try to prevent bullying. Most schools and businesses have anti-bullying policies, and the University of East Anglia is no exception. UEA has a harassment policy which outlines how everyone should be treated “fairly, consistently and with respect.”
It is also important for bullies to know that there will be consequences. They need to know that their anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. It is important to educate people about bullying so that they can recognise it even in its most subtle forms. Victims need to know their rights, and where to go for help, so that they can feel confident that steps will be taken to protect them and stamp bullying out.
As individuals we need to ensure that everyone is treated with respect. Anti-Bullying Week encourages people to be more accepting of different cultures, races, ideologies and sexualities.
If you are having problems with bullying, there are services available at UEA that can help. Nightline is a service available if you need someone to talk to, whilst The Dean of Students’ Office is also available to aid students having problems with bullying.