Posts Tagged Professionals Against Bullying

So Subtle…So hurtful

Have you ever asked yourself if someone was trying to hurt you after a conversation? You know what I’m talking about those talks that seem to sting more than inspire? Bullying comes in many different forms. It can be outright obvious or it can be subtle, faint albeit no less painful. Subtle bullying can be more damaging than obvious attacks. It makes the victim ask themselves if they are overreacting or too sensitive. It may make them question their intelligence and it still comes with the pain from the conversation. How do you deal with it? Do something really bold and courageous…address it. Here are some tips on how to pose the question correctly.
-Are we okay?
-I’m sure you did not mean to hurt me but that last comment seemed inappropriate.
-Have I offended you because it seems that our conversation has taken a turn and I want to make sure that we are communicating well.

Calling out subtle bullying is important but we must do it with respect and dignity so that we do not fall into the bullying trap ourselves.
-Read something great


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The Story of me… A Tale from the bullied : Tara Michener

Yesterday I guest-lectured in a graduate level developmental counseling class. Before I opened my mouth I sat in the back of the room and observed. I watched the demeanor and the body language of the students. I paid attention to those who sat closely with others and those who sat alone. I thought about how something as simple as seating dictates so much peer or powerlessness.

As a kid we are told where to sit in classes. The seating chart holds our fate if we will sit next to our crush or be crushed by the bully who might rule the row that we are assigned to. The lunchroom is where the tough decisions happen. No one really tells you what lunch table to sit at. Typically you get to choose…or not. The cafeteria is the playground of the bully and the chopping block for the bullied. I recall the bus being a place that held the same anxiety for me as a kid. I will never forget the day when no one on the bus would let me sit next to them when I was in junior high school. The kids moved purses in the empty space and gave me sneers as I walked down the narrow row with bags on my shoulder hoping that the giggles died down. Finally a girl named Darlene smiled at me softly and said you can sit with me. I thought she was joking at first. She was considered popular and dressed nice. She looked me in my eye and nodded. I sat. I felt comfortable. The laughter stopped. The bus drove us all home and my heart was no longer troubled. What did it take for her to go out of her way? Nothing. She merely offered a younger student an opportunity to share a space. How do you share your space with others? Do you go out of your way to calm an argument? Do you intervene when others are in trouble? Darlene decided not to be a bystander and by her standing up to let me sit down-she showed me that she cared. As a community we all have the power to do what Darlene did. I am no longer in middle school and I don’t typically ride the bus-but history tends to repeat itself. I was in a coffee shop near my community and there was no where to sit. A lady was sitting in an area with two open booths and she was the only one using the booth. I smiled at her and sued if I could take one of the chairs to eat my lunch and she shook her head frantically and said no. I was shocked and appalled and although I am no longer timid like I was when I was younger I felt like I went right back to being on the bus full of giggles and sneers. A lady across the room said-you can sit at my booth. She shared that she was leaving soon but even if she wasn’t that she would’ve shared her booth because it is the right thing to do. She apologized for the behavior that she witnessed and did not have any problems standing up for me to sit down. It is funny how we can relive experiences and go through the same hurt as we evolve-but it is a great thing to see that some people will always be courageous enough to offer assistance.

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We are still walking and hope that you can join us!! Take a look at our photos and send us your own-don’t forget to contribute.

My 1st day on my #step4antibullying walk.

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Guest Post by: Jessica Ognian

It is my belief that everyone has experienced what its like to be the target of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse at some point in their lives. Its important to recognize that abuse is precisely what bullying is.

Our culture seems to view bullying a part of the childhood experience. The play ground hierarchy manifested into trying and at times brutal rite of passage. This ideology is present not only in the movies and on television, but also through shared stories of triumph and defeat passed down through generations. Perhaps in part due to its legendary heritage, many turn a blind eye to instances of childhood bullying. The only way we can truly change the way our culture views it is by personalizing the experience – and the documentary Bully does just that.

This documentary does an excellent job of depicting the emotional and physical toll that bullying has on the victims, their family, and society. The creators literally “take a walk in their shoes”. For me, the most astonishing revelation to me was the lack of support for these children in the school system. How can we, as counselors, create a healing and beneficial support system for them? A few other questions came to mind. What can we as counselors do to prevent bullying? How can we accurately identify when bullying is taking place?

The immediate answer that I thought of to all of these questions was education, not only for the children but also parents and school administrators. Because society tends to separate abuse and bullying, it’s vital to bridge these presumed separate concepts together. However, it won’t be that simple – and we cannot expect it to be. We as counselors cannot work alone to prevent, identify, and alleviate bullying. We need the eyes, ears, and minds of our community to help us in this quest.

This documentary is a great conversation starter – and I believe that is the first step in the pursuit against bullying. Since I’ve watched this film I have had several conversations with friends and family about how bullying has affected their lives and those around them. I was amazed to hear just how many of my close friends and family have been negatively affected by bullying.

I highly recommend that you take the time to see this documentary and get the conversation started.

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Movie Review: Bully

Have you seen the movie “Bully”? My husband and I saw it together last month and thought that it was a nice representation of what goes on in communities daily. The movie showcased a significant amount of children who are verbally and physically attacked at school and on the bus by others. What made it hard to watch is that many adults made excuses for those who were the culprits of this type of behavior.
Bullying is something that is not foreign to me. I remember thinking that this was a rite of passage and that there was no escape from this type of peer abuse. My solution was to be as quiet as possible. I tried to remain invisible so that I would not be picked on as much. This worked sometimes but how is it a helpful solution to try and disappear?
I eventually realized that shrinking would only make the bullies happy and secure their victory. What I know now is that bullies come in many different forms. It is not simply a topic for kids. It is a topic for those who are in the workplace. For those who are excluded from campus groups. Bullying can effect any person and/or community. My goal is to make a difference and to allow those who feel like they have a helpful solute to share it with us. I was very impressed by the dad in the end of the movie who decided that he would stand for those who are silent and encourage others to do the same. What would you like to do to become a part of the solution? Tonight many of us are meeting at Max & Erma’s in Birmingham, MI to discuss the movie, solutions and efforts that we can bring to this topic. We’d love to see you there at 7:30.

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Open for Business!

Today is our anti-bullying open house at the Hampton Inn, Northville! This is a great opportunity to find out more about who we are-what we’ve done and where we want to go in the future.

We’d love for you to join us at 20600 Haggerty Rd. We will be here until 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served!

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Adventures in Anti-bullying

We are embarking on the end of the year and we thought it would be significant to look at the progress that we have made in 2011 in anti-bullying. Professionals Against Bullying has been able to host anti-bullying roundtables at various restaurants, businesses and establishments. These dialogue sessions have allowed people to speak about various topics surrounding the issue of anti-bullying and how they want to be a part of the change that is needed to make a difference. We have partnered with great sponsors and supporters such as Bonefish Grill of Novi, California Pizza Kitchen, Noodles & Co and so many more!

In Fall we had our 1st annual Anti-bullying back to school brunch to get teens ready for the year ahead. We created a student chapter at Oakland University called “Students Against Bullying at O.U.” this group is dedicated to providing solution oriented meetings and events on campus. This group has hosted events such as, Mean Girls Movie Nights, Brainstorm sessions for solutions and has also been able to partner with other organizations to showcase the importance of this cause. Dream Esteem Detroit was a big win that happened for Professionals against bullying when we allowed prominent professionals from the community to come in and inspire middle school children to be their best and not to bully.

Wayne State University played a big role in making this happen and a few dedicated people from Detroit Synergy. Rhonda Walker from WDIV spoke at one of our Oakland University events to remind our student body that giving back to those who might be victim to being bullied helps college students to stay focused on what matters most and spreads awareness. This year is not over. We are not done.

Yesterday I encountered a person who was being audibly mean in a campus center. Earlier in the week at the same center a person reported to me that they were mistreated by a person verbally. I’m standing up against this behavior because I know that when we refuse to ignore it-we take power away from the bullies. Next year should be a great one-because we are a part of the solution. I hope that you join us.
-Tara Michener

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