On 20 October, I wore purple.
Now, I’m sure all you smart people have already noticed that I don’t normally share my day-to-day outfit colour choices with you. So why this time?
Well, 20 October was a special day. A group on Facebook called it Spirit Day:
- “On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 7 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months mostly due to homophobic abuse in their homes at at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools.”
I came across people talking about this on FetLife and on blogs around the blogosphere. On a blog called It’s All a Matter of Perspective, Holly Jahangiri wrote:
- “Can we extend this to all kids who have been bullied in school? […] This isn’t about bullying GAY kids. It’s tragic that it has taken the suicides of gay children to bring this issue to national attention. This is about bullying PEOPLE. Period. It hurts. And kids are just less experienced and less mature and less able to see that tomorrow or next year things will get better. Kids get bullied for their hair color (any “gingers” out there?), the way they dress (Abercrombie on a Wal-Mart budget, anyone?), their intelligence (“nerds! geeks! freaks!”), their religion, their freckles, their food choices”
Bullying Is About The Bullies
You’re right, Holly. I agree. Bullying isn’t just about gay kids. And bullying isn’t just about kids either. Actually, bullying isn’t about the targets at all. Let’s just get our definitions clear first, ok?
- bullying – individual arseholes perpetrating abusive act(s) against other individual(s) by targeting them, exploiting their vulnerabilities, and maliciously transgressing their consent.
- bully – an individual arsehole who abuses other individual(s) by targeting them, exploiting their vulnerabilities and maliciously transgressing their consent.
Right. Glad we got that sorted out.
When I hear about children being bullied mercilessly whilst the adults responsible for protecting them do nothing, I feel the pain of my own memories from similar experiences. And when people dismiss bullying as simply a school issue or an age issue, I feel the anger of knowing that they’re dead wrong.
Bullying Is Everywhere
I am sick to fucking death of hearing that bullying is about the targets (children) or the environment (school).
That is wronger than Wrongopolis on the planet Wrong in the Galaxy of Fuckoff YerRONG.
- Hey. Bullying is perpetrated by people, against people. Yes, children bully other children. Yes, adults bully children. And adults also bully other adults.
People of all ages bully people of all ages in workplaces, at social events, and within institutions, organisations and communities of all kinds.
Bullies represent all diversities, come in all shapes and sizes, from all ethnic, linguistic, cultural and geographic backgrounds, from all ranges of ability and disability, from all social and economic groups, and from all age groups.
Children learn to bully by example from adults.
And by demonstrating by example and by declining to intervene against bullying from others, adults actively encourage children to be bullies and carry on bullying.
Bullying Is A Human Rights Issue
If the abusive acts perpetrated by bullies are human rights offenses when adults perpetrate them, then those same acts are certainly human rights offenses regardless of who perpetrates them. And even though minors are the most deserving of our protection, human rights transgressions against minors are for the most part totally overlooked by the law.
We all know that bullying carries on outside school. We know this because the bullies at school also bullied us elsewhere, and because as adults we regularly experience or witness bullying from other adults. We meet a whole new set of bullies everywhere we go. Whilst children are entitled to be protected by adults (even if they aren’t) and adults are more empowered and have more choices available than children, regardless of age or venue bullies still bully and that is still unacceptable.
- For every incident in which a child is bullied, the responsible adult caretakers of both the bully and the bullied are failing.
Being an adult doesn’t protect us from bullying, being an adult doesn’t prevent or exclude us from bullying, and being an adult doesn’t make bullying any more acceptable.
An adult can and frequently does bully others every bit as much as a child can.
- If bullying is unacceptable, then it is unacceptable at any age.
Let’s Stop This Shit With A Single Standard
- Let’s extend our condemnation of bullying to all bullies regardless of target, age, venue or circumstance.
- Let’s heed all calls for help and always intervene against bullying.
- Let’s promote, support and enforce respect for all consent and self-sovereignty.
- Let’s support respect for human rights for people of all ages in all environments.
- Let’s reduce the possibility of learning to bully by example.
- Let’s provide a more respectful, more responsive, gentler and kinder example for everybody to follow.
- Let’s respect consent and value people.
- And let’s wear purple on 20 October to show that all bullying is now off the menu.
In closing, here is an excerpt from a web page about bullying with some stuff worth considering.
- Bullying vs Harassment (B & H):
The difference between B & H is in the age of the people involved.
Bullying describes behaviours between children under the age of 12 that is offensive, cruel, intimidating, or humiliating. It is not normal aggression between very young children.
Harassment is the adult term for bullying.
Bullying is a relationship issue; harassment is a human rights issue.
When a power imbalance exists between two people, that imbalance may result in B & H behaviour. Abuse of power is at the core of B & H.
- “We believe that bullying […] forms change with age: playground bullying changes into sexual harassment, gang attacks, dating violence, assault, marital violence, child abuse, workplace harassment, and elder abuse. The common element in all these forms of abuse is the combination of power and aggression, a behavioural style that is learned early and persists if not corrected” (Pepler & Craig, 1999).
Child Abuse Effects copyright © Darlene Barriere 2005 – 2010 All rights reserved.