End Bullying Today!

You don’t have to search very hard in today’s world to find a story about bullying.  Bullying is taking place in schoolyards, playgrounds, and throughout social media.   The effects of bullying can be extremely damaging, and can result in fearfulness, anxiety, depression, and loss of self-confidence.  Many victims feel scared and do not report the bullying.  With nowhere to turn, victims can feel helpless and hopeless.   Luckily, there are now organizations and movements such as Love is Louder, DoSomething.org, Stomp Out Bullying and Teens Against Bullying, that are being supported by celebrities who are using their voices to raise awareness and put an end to bullying.  
October is National Bullying Prevention month.  Sponsored by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, it is a time when communities can unite nationwide to raise awareness of bullying prevention through events, activities, outreach and education.  What started as a week-long event in 2006, has now evolved into a month long effort.  Julie Hertzog, Director of PACER’s, says “The culture of bullying won’t end until people across the country take action and show kids they care” In 2011 Ellen DeGeneres promoted Unity Day on television by wearing orange and reminding millions of viewers about the importance of bullying prevention. 

Stopbullying.gov defines bullying to include actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.  They also define bullying as unwanted aggressive behavior among school age children.  Unfortunately bullying is clearly no longer just a childhood issue.  Anyone of any age can be victim to bullying.  

This past June, we all became familiar with 68 year old Karen Klein, a bus aide and grandmother of eight, who became a national sensation when a cell phone video of her being bullied by middle school students went viral.  Their torment brought her to tears, and also brought her an outpouring of outrage and support from strangers.  Concerned citizens raised more than $650,000 in donations to send Klein on vacation. 

Also recently in the news was Jennifer Livingston, a television anchor, who responded on air to an email complaint about her weight and setting a poor example for young viewers.  Ms. Livingston used this opportunity to speak publically about the complaint and raise awareness of bullying. She spoke of being more than a number on the scale and encouraged all children out there who feel lost or who are struggling, “Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies.  Learn from my experience – that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.”

There are also children who are standing up to their bullies and raising awareness by sharing their experiences publically.  Katie Uffens, a high school student, who decided to leave school when she found out about a club (Kill Katie Klub) that was being formed by some of her classmates.  Katie went on national television in hopes to turn her experience into something positive that will help in the efforts to put a stop to bullying.

How wonderful to see victims of bullying taking action and raising awareness of a problem that affects so many people.  How even more wonderful it would be if every victim had the access or willingness to get the word out and stop the abuse they are living through.  But all too often victims of bullying feel threatened both physically and emotionally and suffer in silence.  So let’s join together and help put an end to bullying.  
If you witness bullying or see a friend who may be experiencing signs of being bullied, like feelings of helplessness, decreased self-esteem, changes in grades or avoidance of social situations, check in with them.  Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.  Get involved with whatever your school or community has to offer this month and take a stand against bullying.   
We have a responsibility to be better to each other, and accept each other’s differences regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ability or religion, and stand up for someone when they’re bullied”.

Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter star. (as written on TheCelebrityCafe.com website).