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Bully Buster

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Bullying is a recent topic that has hit the media by storm. It is the theme of the year for many schools, here in Quebec too.

Due to recent suicides here in North America caused by being bullied, the topic of school bullying is out there.

Bullying isn’t a local problem, its international. Japan, where I live for over 5 years, has a bigger issue of bullying than here. The cases of suicides related to bullying far outnumber the ones happening here. My years in the mid-90s until now, I constantly read of reports of school bullying suicides. It’s sad to always hear about it.

Bullying isn’t something foreign to me. I was a victim of bullying for many years in my years of junior high school. Why me? I would ask myself. I would assume now, that it was my small physical size at that time, and wore glasses. So I would be an easier target. It was frustrating to face this day to day, but I gathered my courage and took a stand.

I began training in martial arts at the age of 12, and it did definitely aid me in gaining courage. Of course, I still got beat up (might of have been a different story if I started Combat Sambo at that age!) but I kept on getting up. I was fortunate also to have some friends that would back me up.  Because of this persistence, the bullying got less and less.

So what has changed from by school days to these days? Technology has some part in it. With community networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, people have become easier targets for bullying. People are bullying in larger groups than before, and there is very little face to face contact. Just as there are several people “trolling” online on martial art forums, it’s easier behind ones computer or cell phone to make fun or put someone down, than to do it in front of their face.

An individual would more unlikely act in bullying, but as a “faceless” group they want to be part of that “group” (which bullies someone) to feel wanted, and hopefully not become a target themselves of bullying. This is has been seen globally , in reference to  Communist Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, where people joined either the Communist party or the Nazis, not so much as a belief in it, but fear for themselves and survival.

Teachers themselves hold responsibility to keep bullying at bay. There have been reports of teachers who knew a child was being bullied, but turned a blind eye to the issue. I guess they thought it’s too much for them to get involved, but that is their job, not just to teach a subject, but to guide their students in a proper way in life.

Many people will acknowledge there is a problem of bullying in our society, but few come up with solving the problem. Honestly I don’t think there is an easy solution to the problem.  First of all, why does one become a bully? Are people born bullies?  I don’t think it’s a genetic factor, but more of a “troubled child” issue. What I mean by “troubled” are children with family issues; meaning abuse, or lack of attention. We can think we are raising our children properly by giving them all the material goods they seem to want, but deep down affection and care is the best gift one can give to one’s children.

Solution? Well, if there’d be better family upbringing, we might have fewer bullies. But the question is what to do when one is bullied. Many people might not agree on my stand, by I favor a “fight back” attitude. Yes, we can dissolve a threat with words, but in a kid’s world, de-escalating with words usually doesn’t work. One could ask or beg to stop, but deaf ears come, even in the adult world.

Fight back now_1

Take in my case in the past. I could ask to stop harassing me, but that didn’t work, because I was outnumbered or less physically superior. So, I took my case to retaliating.  I still remember to this day, fighting it out in the school field. I was fortunate to have some friends to aid me. We kicked back, almost hitting the others head. A teacher saw this and yelled out. I was afraid of getting suspended. The teacher knew I was being bullying and took me aside and said:” next time, hit them lower, so no one would know!” Once I heard that, I understood it was Ok to fight back, within reason.

bully exposed.006

Bullies, in general are weak. They seek attention, because perhaps they lack it at home. Fighting back brings this attention to them, and in most cases stops their bullying. I have noticed that, even to this day and with adults, that if one puts “one foot down”, the aggression ceases.

Hopefully people will understand my stance, and that bullying in decrease in the coming years. If we continue to talk about it, but take no action or ignore this growing problem, it shall continue on.

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