October is Bullying Prevention Month.
Bullying claims too many lives, some of which are still living, forever traumatized.
Bullying is not confined to schools and children; people of all ages face it in some form or other, sometime or other. Some have the courage to stand up for themselves. Others, not so much.
In a world where everyone is rushing to catch up with their lives, parenting, in particular, bullying rears its ugly head more often than ever. The internet has made this easier and unmonitored social media facilitates it further. Apps like eKavach enable digital parenting, helping to keep children safe and prevent such situations. After all, to a child, love is spelled Time and when there is a shortage of that important commodity, parents must find solutions that enable them keep their children loved and safe.
I recently received an advance review copy of the book “Bullying Under Attack: True stories written by teen victims, bullies and bystanders” edited by Stephanie Meyer (Author), John Meyer (Author), Emily Sperber (Author), Heather Alexander (Author) (Thank you NetGalley)
This eye-opening book is filled with short, powerful stories from all three perspectives – the bully, the bullied, and the bystander – all written by teenagers.
Bullying Under Attack
Publisher: HCI Teens
WORDS ARE POWERFUL. Not only do they have the ability to damage ones self-esteem, but they can also heal.
Teen Ink’s Bullying Under Attack is an eye-opening anthology of all three players in the bullying cycle. These conversational essays on life as the bullied, the bully, and the bystander provide insight and inspiration for change. Rather than offer a cumbersome psychological breakdown, this graceful and hard-hitting book places the reader firmly in the shoes of all involved.
Whether it’s race, weight, or jealousy, there are a myriad of reasons WHY, and this startling compendium of personal stories conveys the complexity and nuances of what it means to be bullied. Stories of regret, promises, and encouragement show how words and actions can provide strength and reassurance to others and ultimately help them find their voices in order to break the cycle for good.
The book pulled me in with a Foreword by John Halligan whose pain is obvious as he shares the loss of his 13-year old son who was driven to suicide as a result of cyber-bullying. He writes about how his son “loved connecting online with friends after school and throughout the summer. But during the summer of 2003, he spent significantly more time online, mainly instant messaging (IM).” And the Internet safety rules he put in place for his children.
This book contains many stories with a cyber bullying component, and it seems the practice is always evolving as technology evolves.
Truly, sharing stories is a key to begin the critical conversation about bullying and the stories and poems in Bullying Under Attack are told by real children, expressing themselves in a way that everyone can relate with.
The editors of the book have chosen a hundred of the most compelling prose, poetry, and art that they believe will be an eye-opener both for teenagers and adults.This book provides an informative, and often heartbreaking look into the nationwide epidemic – bullying.
The stories offer multiple perspectives and experiences and include pieces that deal specifically with the growing awareness of self-harm (cutting, eating disorders) and suicide as a result of bullying. Some authors talk about how technology has allowed bullying to be extrapolated out of school and follows teens into their personal lives and how it has affected whole communities.
The stories are sure to resonate with anyone who has gone through the pain of being bullied, letting them know they are not alone. I found the book unique in that it allows the bystander to be heard, as they describe their guilt and the bully, who is invariably a victim before they transformed into that role of power and finally, the victim, whose story is heart-wrenching. It offers an insight into their feelings and internal issues that made then act the way they did and how dealt with them.
Each story touched my heart. They are all very real and I felt my eyes filling up as I read them. It must have taken so much courage to tell the world about the pain they went through. The instances are raw and emotional. The hurt felt by these writers through word and action left me sad, wanting to hug them.
“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”
This book is a wake up call to pay close attention to how children use technology and the Internet.
It is also a call to those who get their kicks humiliating and teasing others and for those who simply stand by and do nothing when they see a bully in action.
The book lists bullying resources at the end.
As Lee Hirsch, writer and director of the film Bully says, “Sekunjalo” Now is the time!
Support bullying prevention!
Dear Readers, Have you experienced bullying? How did you tackle/overcome it?
Have you ever stood up for someone and defended them?
Please share your experience in the comments.
Thank you for reading.