Anti-Bullying Week 2014

Anti-bullying week (November 16 to 22) has come and gone, a week dedicated nationwide to stopping the spread of bullying. So what better time to examine the way we look at bullying as a society!

Beginning in 2004 in the UK, anti-bullying week aims to raise awareness about bullying and prevent future bullying. However, we may wish to reexamine the way we attack bullying. For starters, the idea of anti-bullying has become increasingly commercialized. Online, one can buy anything from anti-bullying tank tops, to bumper stickers, to coffee mugs; with (as far as I can tell) all of the profits going to for-profit companies. The idea of needing more bullying awareness seems ludicrous. Schools already have an intense focus on the ideas of “anti-bullying”, at least from my experiences. KLO specifically had at least one yearly assembly on the topic. The problem with bullying awareness in schools is the way it focuses on bullying as an idea, instead of the actual acts it consists of. We say the words “stop bullying!” so many times that the words lose their meaning. We all know what bullying is and that it’s bad, yet it always seems impersonal. Bullying happens sure, yet few people think it happens to them or their friends, and even fewer would think that they could have in fact bullied someone else. However, one in three Canadian adolescents has reported being bullied at some point. Bullying still happens, and simply raising awareness only makes it harder to identify.

In order to truly stop bullying, we need to discuss it as it actually is. A complex problem with complex solutions. Nobody sees themselves as a bully, because a bully is automatically an awful person. However this is the real world. Nobody is truly evil, and bullies are people with varying personal reasons and intentions as to why they spread so much hatred. Only through thinking of them as such instead of as faceless entities of evil may we identify why they do what they do and potentially put a stop to it.