Say NO to bullying
Whether being bullied or a witness, you have a role to play
Talk about it

Silence is an attacker’s biggest ally. Some people may even go to extreme lengths to preserve the bullying victim’s silence! 

However, as long as people stay silent, bullies remain safe from all consequences, and may even be unaware of the devastating effects of their actions. They will continue bullying and the number of victims will increase. 

Talk about it with someone you trust!

Reporting versus “ratting someone out”

“Ratting someone out” and reporting are two different things!

Ratting someone out is revealing information in order to harm, take revenge or punish someone for pleasure. For example, for the last month you and your gang have been bullying a new student at school, calling her a “whore.” There are indications that the victim is about to report you so, to save your own skin, you decide to report your friends for bullying to the school administration. Your goal is to save yourself, at other people’s expense, not to help the bullying victim.

Someone who reports a situation is saying NO to bullying and is doing so in order to help or receive help. For example, if you’re being bullied and you report to your teacher that you’ve been getting beaten up over the last week when you go to your locker, by three guys who demand your money and threaten you. Your goal is to get help and put an end to the situation.

Reporting a bullying or cyber-bullying situation allows:

• An adult to intervene and protect the person who is being bullied
• The person being bullied to receive help
• The aggressor to realize that they have a problem and to face the consequences of their actions
• The aggressor to receive support to stop bullying and develop empathy and new problem-solving strategies

Falsehoods and truths

• Reporting a bullying or cyber-bullying situation makes things even more difficult for the person being bullied.

FALSE: By reporting it, the victim is asking for help from an adult who can provide support and balance out the relationship of power between the victim and the aggressor. Reporting a bullying situation is a way to say NO, to stand up for yourself and put an end to the bullying.

• If the bullying victim starts asserting themselves, the aggressor will be less tempted to continue bullying.

TRUE: What interests the aggressor is the fear they create and the power they have over their victim—this makes them feel more powerful and in control. So by standing up for yourself, you become a less attractive target. But be careful, asserting yourself doesn’t mean taking revenge by becoming aggressive. It means stating your opinion and refusing to do things that don’t correspond to your values.

• Once a victim, always a victim.

FALSE: It’s important to report the bullying so that it stops. You can also learn strategies for preventing and dealing with bullying and rejection. For example, someone who is being bullied can make sure to have friends, spend time with people and not isolate themselves, develop their self-confidence and ability to stand up for themselves, and ask for help from friends and adults they trust.

• Victims of bullying attract problems, it’s their own fault!

FALSE: It’s not the fault of the person being bullied. Anyone can be a victim of bullying. The only one responsible for bullying behaviour is the aggressor, not the victim. The person experiencing the bullying shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty about what’s happening. No one deserves to be bullied.

• We are all capable of behaviours that can make others feel rejected or intimidated.

TRUE: You may occasionally bully people. It’s important that you realize how easy it can be to adopt aggressive behaviour. If you’re aware of changes in your attitude and of the reasons you seem to seek power at other people’s expense, it will help you stop this behaviour and to find other ways of interacting with people.

Difficult but necessary!

For bullying to stop, you have to talk about it, even though: 

• You may think you’re responsible for the bullying (whereas this is not the case).
• You may be afraid of not being believed.
• You may prefer to work things out by yourself or try to convince yourself that time will take care of everything.
• You may think the situation will get worse after you report it, whereas the opposite is true.
• You’re paralyzed with fear and don’t know what to do.
• You’re worried because reporting it may cause the bully to face consequences, legal action or, in some instances, a prison sentence.

express yourself

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