Author: Wiem Askri
As a kid, I was bullied on many occasions. There was no specific reason for it, seeing as how bullying can never be justified. It is nothing short of emotional or physical abuse that can leave its victims scarred. Excuses from bullies can range from “It was just for fun”, “I did not mean to make him feel bad”, to “I called them that name for a laugh. That’s all”.
While this may be the case, words hold power and are stronger than imagined. From a person who has experienced bullying, here is my advice to you, whether you are being bullied or have witnessed it.
1) Listen. Sometimes, just listening to someone’s problems can alleviate stress instead of pushing him/her to talk about it. They might not open up so easily, feel secure, or comfortable enough to trust you. Listening can break through that emotional wall. Once they develop the courage to talk, let them. Hear them out and be a good listener. Allow them to vent and release whatever is weighing them down. After they have spoken, help them calm down. You can do this by telling them how much you appreciate them, and reassuring them that they are respected and loved. Bullying can damage a person’s self-esteem and diminish their confidence. Be positive in your conversation and let them know they have a friend in you.
2) Do not be afraid of the bullies. Speak to them and challenge their intentions. Understanding their behavior might help you overcome their patterns. Regardless of the conversation with them, do not resort to violence. Violence does not solve anything. If the bullying persists, or the situation escalates to a level you cannot handle by yourself, speak to someone who is older. Seek help from an adult, teacher, counselor, or parent. Chances are, they know how to handle this situation and can assist you.
In conclusion, if you notice the normal behavior of a classmate or friend has changed (e.g. depression, always on edge, shuts people out) say something. You might be the only “hero” they did not realize they needed. Stay positive and have an open heart to helping others. You never know whose life you could save.