This Wednesday, February 24, is Pink Shirt Day. It has become an annual awareness day for bullying, online and offline, and the implications. I have experienced bullying myself, and it still shocks me until today how people can be bullied for literally ANYTHING. I remember crying on numerous occasions during Elementary School because a group of kids laughed at and made mockery of the way I walked, come on…really? Fortunately, I had a great group of close friends and family support. Most of the parents knew each other, making it easier for them to step in when they found out someone was being bullied at school. The teachers? Not so much.
The effects of bullying affected me the most in my early teen years, I lost the confidence to go after the things I wanted to do. Lead an after school club? Nope. Share my ideas? Nope. As a result I missed out on some opportunities of things I loved. And let me tell you, building back up lost confidence in the years after took a lot of time, effort, and support from those around me. What I am trying to say is that, bullying can lead to many other things, loss of confidence, depression, self-doubt, and in some cases, suicide.
We attribute prevention of bullying with children, or something we should raise awareness of within the school system. However, as some of us have experienced first hand, bullying can transcend into the work place quite often. How do we handle it when it happens to us? Who do we turn to for support? Also, where is the line between a joke for fun and games, versus bullying?
YWCA Vancouver is hosting a panel discussion this Wednesday, February 24, to talk about all these questions. The panelists comes from diverse backgrounds (including the co-founder of this movement!), and I highly encourage you all to come out to this event to share your thoughts and stories! Every step towards change and learning starts somewhere, so why not find that ‘somewhere’ and begin?
Thank you for reading!