We live in strange times. There have always been bullies. The difference is that these days they can lurk behind a computer keyboard or a mobile phone. Despite all the work to make our society a more inclusive place, intolerance can be found in abundance. In any corner, it seems as though no one is immune from attack. Children or adult. Physical or psychological.
In schools, sure, that’s obvious. But workplaces, community groups, sports clubs – no group has successfully eliminated bullying. Arguments happen and can get out of hand. Sometimes it’s one on one, and in ‘the old days’, testosterone fuelled arguments were resolved that way. But now you can’t trust that this will happen. In fact, there’s a good chance that it won’t. Bullies have no qualms about calling in their ‘mates’ and seriously doing you damage. I’ve heard about it far too often. The gang mentality? Apparently, whatever that actually is. Again, this can happen to child and adult alike.
The latest form of violence is perpetrated online, with devastating consequences. Suicide, depression, anxiety, and various states of mental illness are at all-time highs. The society we live in and it’s stresses are very much to blame, but victims of online abuse are subject to a unique and still relatively new form. Consequently, prevention, minimisation and treatment options are still being developed. The slow rate of response to the unfettered, rapid online environment is brought into sharp focus when I see the vintage wheels of government bureaucracy attempt to come up with prevention and solutions. Even worse can be our antiquated and out of touch justice system.
Of course the most insidious and cowardly forms of violence, in my opinion, are domestic and sexual. I intend writing further about this, but clearly, we live in an epidemic of horrendous proportions of closed door, closed-minded, and all too often closed mouthed violence in the home and trusted institutions. The media have largely been responsible for bringing much of this to light, together with the brave souls who have raised their voices in despair. There is debate about whether or not DV and sexual abuse are really worse now, or whether it’s more of the behaviour is brought to light.
Sure, there are many good preventative initiatives out there, the most effective seemingly run by the special interest groups formed by real victims friends and families.
It’s interesting living in Australia right now, rarely mentioned in international circles. In the wake of yet more senseless mass shooting deaths, again in an innocent school, it’s so blatantly obvious to everyone outside of the United States that they’ve got gun control wrong. They’ve got some things wonderfully right, but gun control isn’t one of them. Regardless of how you do the numbers, as critics resort to, the Australian government has done one truly revolutionary thing, by US standards. We’ve banned guns. Well, pretty much. Except for genuine hunters and sports shooters. The net result is a massive reduction in gun-related crime, injury and death. No matter how you look at it, a remarkable success story. America, no other country in the world puts political donations ahead of human life, even us.
Is education the key? It usually is. If people are truly made aware of the impact of their actions, I’d like to think that most would at least attempt to stop. Are they strong enough to do that alone though? We seem to lack resources in so many spaces relating to the welfare of ‘people’, whereas the welfare of ‘corporations’ remains watertight and overprotected with massive funding and influence.
So, parents, I guess it’s up to us again. But really, who better to instil a sense of caring for our fellow human beings to our kids than us. Maybe we don’t have the will or means to participate in directly helping with the current problem, other than looking after your own, your families, and your neighbour’s wellbeing.
Dad’s, your role is particularly important on this one, as the overwhelming majority of offenders are male. Most of us know what it’s like to be bullied. And to get angry.
What we can do is teach our children well. Just like it says in the meme above, the picture above.
Teach them how to give, love, share, care, for they will change our world.
Don’t let your child become one.
Do care for your child should they become the victim of one.
Imagine living in a nation where they're proposing to give teachers guns to 'protect' school children from a potential attack from a madman with military grade weapons. Talk about flawed logic! Anyway, back to bullying. Do any Dad's out there have tips on how to deal with bullies? Or Mum's that have seen Dad's with great ideas?