“Every 7 minutes a child is bullied.”
“75% of school shootings have been linked to bullying.” (NAAAS, I-Safe.org)
These above are the two facts that made me really want to create a Powered By Service project about bullying. But of course, since this was an Usher’s New Look project, this time it was different. As New Look youth, we are equipped with the tools to use our talents for implementing change and spreading the word. I was excited at the idea of making an Anti-Bullying short film called “Bully: Betrayed Youth” that focused on the life of the bully. The next month was filled with writing film scripts, directing, acting, and singing about bullying.
Most solutions to bullying focus on trying solely to punish the bully. But to truly get a good depiction of bullying, we chose to examine the experiences of the bully, the bullied, and the bystander. We realized that all three people are emotionally and psychologically influenced by the harassment.
In addition to constant sadness and loneliness, there are many long term effects of being bullied. For example, one may suffer from depression and anxiety; even decreased academic achievement and long term emotional damage have been reported from it. Being the bully, on the other hand, also leads to undesirable situations later in life including getting into fights, domestic violence, and criminal convictions.
Bullying can happen anywhere –– at school, at home, at work, and even on the internet. That is why every one of us has a way to chip in to stop it. It is important to take action against harassment in order to keep students safe at all times. When it comes to the bully, bullied, and bystander, they all have a responsibility and contribution to help eliminate bullying completely.
Finally, I can leave you with simple advice to think about. If you are being bullied, speak up! Teachers and administrators don’t know who is a victim, unless you make yourself heard. Taking a moment and talking to someone can help you end the abuse forever. If you are a bystander, do not allow the problem to escalate by doing nothing or laughing at the person being bullied. Put yourself in their shoes and help become part of the solution. Speak up!
–Atif Hashwi is a second year New Look Mogul in Training attending the University of Southern California.