This story is probably the most important one I have ever told. Some people may have heard of the young girl from Victoria named Brodie Panlock. I write today to share Brodie’s story.
Brodie died by jumping off a building after being subjected to relentless workplace bullying. Brodie was only 19 years old.
When Brodie went to work at the Hawthorn café, all she wanted to do was earn a living. Brodie’s parents, Damian and Rae, would think that their daughter was off to work and in a safe environment, not thinking that each day their daughter was being punished and tormented in such an inhumane way, that one day, she would make the choice of suicide over life. Brodie suffered at the hands of three workplace bullies in the café at which she worked.
One of Brodie’s oppressors was even so close to her; he has been named as her on-again-off-again partner. To further add to the disgust, this person was Brodie’s direct supervisor in the workplace.
If you have ever been bullied or worked with a bully, I do not need to explain to you the level of stress that any human being feels simply by the ongoing attacks. Now imagine having three bullies doing this to you on a daily basis.
Some days Brodie was spat on. Other days she was constantly told she was ugly. On one occasion Brodie was told to take rat poison. On another, and in what could have only been a humiliating experience, Brodie had fish oil poured all over her and into her bag. The bystander – the café owner – simply turned a blind eye and told the bullies to “take it out back”.
I cannot even write this article without a lump swelling in my throat and tears welling in my eyes. As a former victim of bullying and someone who has attempted suicide, I can only imagine some of the feelings of fear that Brodie would have felt, if her experiences were anything like the ones that I experienced. I know too well that feeling of living in absolute terror. And sometimes, when in such a dark space the only light I saw was the light of death calling me to give up. To finally rest. To escape.
When all the torment got too much, one tragic day in 2006 Brodie threw herself off a building and sustained massive head injuries. Three days later, she died. She was 19.
At the time, Brodie’s bullies were charged. They were all found to be guilty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and were issued with a fine of over $300,000 each. The café owner was also found guilty for allowing the ongoing abuse and his company was fined for failing to provide a safe working environment.
For contributing to her death, these bullies walked away with just a fine. They continue their lives today. They get to see their kids grow up. Unfortunately for Brodie, this is not the case. Nor is it the case for Brodie’s parents, who have to live with the fact of knowing that their daughter is no longer with them.
What happened next was incredible. With the help of the Brodie’s parents, the Victorian Government and the general public saw a need for severe cases of bullying to be covered by legislation. The OH&S Act simply does not do enough to deal with bullying.
As such, The Honourable Robert Clarke, Attorney-General of Victoria, working with the Department of Justice (Victoria) worked towards a solution to try to ensure that incidents, like that of Brodie Panlock, would not reach such tragic outcomes. This would be achieved pro-actively through education and reactively through stronger punishments under new legislation.
We have laws that currently provide slight coverage when it comes to the dangers of bullying in Victoria. But these laws were written in 1958. The Crimes Act (1958) has an entire section devoted to harassment. The OH&S Act has an entire section dedicated to workplace safety. And yet, these failed in Brodie’s case.
The Panlock’s, Robert Clarke and his team set about changing this. And in 2011, they were successful. The Crimes Act (1958) has now been amended in the state of Victoria to also include ‘Bullying’. The Act also increases the punishment for severe cases of bullying from 3 years imprisonment to 10 years. This amendment is nicknamed ‘Brodie’s Law’. But most importantly, the amendment to the Crimes Act allowed education packages to be distributed to 8,000 schools, police stations and workplaces across Victoria. Education is the key here. A pro-active solution will involve continual education in schools and workplaces for a longer sustainable outcome. Sure things won’t change overnight, but Brodie’s Law is where it all begins.
Whilst this amendment is the first step of many more to come, we need to take Brodie’s Law to a national level. Or at least, a similar version nationally. We need to show the same level of support for every young Australian who is being bullied in the workplace or at school, or online for that matter, that bullying is destructive and not ok. But most importantly, we need to start an education program highlighting the dangers of bullying and ensuring that young people are taught tolerance, acceptance and respect for others regardless of who they are, how they identify, where they are from, what they do etc.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister Bill Shorten also agree (see transcript) that Brodie’s Law should become national. Why is it that only one state in Australia has these laws in place, when bullying occurs everywhere across our nation? A parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying was raised and conducted in 2012. The Human Rights Commission recently stated that the cost to the economy of workplace bullying was estimated to be between $6 billion and $36 billion per annum. So not only does it impact our communities, bullying is placing pressure on both health services and the economy.
Clearly, this is a problem for which we are all responsible. Clearly, the way to resolve this issue over the long term is to harness the power of education to help steer young people in the right direction. Brodie’s Law was the first step. We now need to take it further.
Currently, the following laws loosely cover ‘bullying’ in NSW:
I have started to float the idea online and offline about launching a similar concept to Brodie’s Law in NSW and across other states and territories in Australia, following the lead of Victoria. And believe it or not, I have even encountered opposition for this. So I’d like to take the time to also address these ‘myths’ to ensure we are all comfortable with these amendments.
Myth #1 – Censorship: One of the common things I hear so far about bullying, specifically online bullying, is that if you try to stop it, you are indirectly censoring people’s ‘Freedom of Speech’. I can see their point of view. After all, especially when it comes to online, if it were not for the internet’s freedom of speech, we wouldn’t have the Arab Spring or news coming out of war zones like Syria. However, this same methodology cannot be applied to a young person or an individual who is, unlike Gaddafi or Assad, oppressing an entire nation. Further to this, Brodie’s Law has been passed in Victoria for over a year now – and yet the model has demonstrated no censorship whatsoever in any circumstances (offline or online).
Myth #2 – Ineffective Law: Some folks have said that Brodie’s Law is ineffective, that ‘no person has yet been convicted under the amendment’. The first case of Brodie’s Law in Victoria occurred recently with AFL great David Schwarz. However, we do not measure the effectiveness of a law by the number of convictions, but rather by its preventative success of the crime occurring. To these people, I always ask “What can be ineffective about education that is rolled out across 8,000 schools, police stations and workplaces?”
Myth #3 – Responsibility Confusion: A few people have said that introducing anti-bullying laws in NSW will create confusion among the courts as to where the responsibility of bullying belongs? Should it be under The Crimes Act, or the Workcover Act? In the event of severe bullying, much like what occurred to Brodie, it’s very simple. This is a crime. When it is relentless, ongoing attacks on any person, then it automatically falls under the Crimes Act for harassment. The key here is to not think reactively about the punishment, but rather pro-actively about the education. Workplaces, schools and even online social media platforms can embrace the educative outcomes that come with laws like Brodie’s Law. Many community organisations would help distribute these key messages across multi-platform channels, and just like word-of-mouth marketing, this education will spread.
Myth #4 – Other states will object: I’ve had some people tell me that it may pass in NSW, but we’d have a tough time getting it through other states. I truly believe this is not the case. We recently filmed a series of politicians from across several parties who believe that bullying is an issue, but one that can be resolved. Regardless of political views, bullying in any shape or form has never been dismissed by any political leader. As parents, as friends, as family members even our political leaders understand the potential dangers that come with bullying regardless of which state they represent. I truly do believe that they will be on board. This is not about which side of the fence any one of us is on. This is about saving lives and providing education to help combat this growing issue in our society.
The Community Brave Foundation, working with Sydney Independent MP Alex Greenwich has now launched a campaign and petition to ask for the support of the Australian public to help start the conversation in NSW and introduce parliamentary discussion, following Victoria’s lead which included the additional amendments used to describe bullying (taken from Brodie’s Law):
And again replicating the Victorian amendments to broaden the definition of stalking into bullying with:
“…that could reasonably be expected to cause physical or mental harm to the victim, including self-harm; or to arouse apprehension or fear in the victim for his or her own safety or that of another person with the intention of causing the above harm”
Some might say that current laws provide enough coverage, but in my opinion they do not, because these amendments now take into the act a very important aspect – mental harm, such as psychological harm which may lead victims to engage in suicidal thoughts.
As such, The Community Brave Foundation will commence with the rolling out of an online video and online petition soon. We currently have an offline petition that we are asking people to print, sign and send in to us to support what we are trying to achieve. We ask for people who share our mission to share it through their offline and online social networks, including workplaces.
The Community Brave Foundation campaign to introduce anti-bullying discussion in parliament will also mean that The Foundation will seek to work with the government to develop an education package that can be distributed electronically to all schools, police stations and workplaces in NSW, replicating the Victorian model and starting the ongoing education on bullying through a grass-roots approach.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich will help drive attention to the cause in the NSW Legislative Assembly and work with The Community Brave Foundation to deliver these discussions.
Getting involved will be easy. All that we ask people to do is watch our video, and sign and share our petition. The program will be run through social media to help it spread virally and gain a vast range of diverse people who want to contribute to making a difference for young people, along with an official petition (offline) which people can print, sign and submit.
As a gay man and founder of The Community Brave Foundation, I hear lots of news of LGBTIQ youth (and adults) who are continually suffering due to bullying. Join me, and together we can make it a better place for all youth, but especially those from the LGBTIQ community.
We received some bad news this afternoon at the time of writing this post. That not one, but two tragedies had unfolded this week. Two lives taken from our world, too soon.
It’s heartbreaking to think about not only what those last minutes of life would have felt like for both these young men, but also to think about the potential of the life that awaited them. The plan ahead, the one we all set for ourselves, before we are robbed of it by untimely death.
At the time of writing this, news was just breaking about the finding of Sydney flight attendant Ben Roper. Ben went missing on Australia Day and a massive social media campaign started immediately. Sydney and the LGBTIQ community united vigorously to help NSW police find Ben.
Whilst the case is still open, there have been unconfirmed reports that Ben was receiving homophobic hate messages on his phone from an unknown source. As these details are not confirmed, nor the case closed, I will leave it there with Ben, only saying that if his family is reading this right now – please know that the entire community united and Ben brought us together. We stopped our bickering, we stopped our divisions, and we focused on helping one of our own. My condolences are with you in this difficult time.
The Star Observer also reported this week that the life of young Jadin Bell was taken off life support. 15 year old Jadin Bell. A victim of the epidemic sweeping society, which is known as suicide from bullying. Jadin was attacked for his sexuality, even though his friends always knew him as “outgoing, colourful and cheerful”.
Another one of our family members, lost. Another child a parent has to lay to rest. Another day without another soul blessing this world with his presence.
What was evident in both these unrelated cases was the power of people uniting on social media. When the story broke about both these young people going missing or attempting suicide, social media whipped into a frenzy. People let down their barriers and let go of any outstanding issues they had with each other.
Unity. The family who looks after family members, always looks out for family members. And that’s the most amazing aspect of these tragedies.
As mentioned above, I’m not sure if Ben was a victim of hatred or bullying. We know Jadin was. We need to band together to stop this from happening. We need to support those most vulnerable in society to help them in their time of need. We have a powerful instrument at our grasp that can help us achieve this.
Social media is an amazing tool that allows us to connect with a mass audience to spread social good. I see so much hatred on social media (hourly!) that I always think to myself – if everyone spent 10 minutes a day delivering social good information through social media, we would have a weapon against the raging epidemic so powerful, it would render it eradicated over time.
We need to: think about, open conversations and look at legislative reforms to address this growing issue not only in the short term – but also building a long term sustainable solution. One that we can replicate the model regardless of geographic location and achieve the same result. The future is in our hands, and we have to build a world where young people can grow up and look back at this time and talk about the changes we made now, for their future. And their children’s future. We’re at the precipice point, where we can let this all go and hope it solves itself or take action now to build momentum and resolution.
The Community Brave Foundation sends so many hugs to both Ben and Jadin’s families this week. We know it’s not much in such dark times, but we want you to know that we are working hard to end tragedies like this. And we promise you we will do everything in our power to fix this.
Because everybody has the potential to change the world. That should never be taken away from them.
And both these young men helped unite us. Our battle against the bullying epidemic is only just beginning.
If you are feeling distressed, being bullied or need to talk to someone – we urge you to call LifeLine on 131 114.
Founder & Chairman – The Community Brave Foundation
So here it is! Our Calendar is ready to go and we couldn’t be more excited!
Here’s the registration link: http://eepurl.com/rLnSv
Order Registrations are being collected between 1 December 2012 – 10 December 2012.
Why you should register for a calendar?
It’s a great cause – you will be supporting Community Brave
It’s a great Christmas pressie you can give to your clients, your team members, your family and friends
It’s super cheap – cost price + postage and handling. If you want the electronic version, it’s free!
You can turn the electronic version into place cards or print them out to hang all over your walls
It helps spread the message of teamwork, anti-bullying, healthy minds, healthy bodies and healthy souls!
What are the costs?
Electronic Version – FREE! That’s right it’s free! We’ll send you a new month at the end of each previous month! This way, you get a new surprise all the way through 2013!
Printed Version – as we like to be absolutely transparent, we’re giving you the whole truth! We need to sell 1,000 calendars before any can be printed. The total cost of printing is $2,000. This means each calendar costs $2 for you! Add $1.50 for postage and the absolute total cost is $3.50 per calendar!
BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE!
Purchase a 10 pack and we’ll give it to you for $30 (normally $35). Purchase a 20 pack and we’ll give it to you for $60 (normally $75). Purchase a 50 pack and it’s yours for $160 (normally $175).
What can you do with 50 Calendars? Hand them out to your clients, or maybe to your entire department. Maybe you have an upcoming campaign for your organisation, and want to give something back to your supporters …. The world is your oyster!
What do you get?
Electronic Version – On a monthly basis you will receive an email which contains the next month’s calendar, some behind the scenes shots and where available free giveaways such as women’s personal training classes or a 1 week pass at City Gym, Sydney.
Printed Version - a shiny glossy calendar to hang up!
What format should you choose?
It’s all up to you. Grab some printed versions for your family and friends and keep an electronic version for you!
When will you receive your calendar?
Electronic Version – you’ll receive your first month (January) on the 27th December. Thereafter you will receive your monthly calendars on the 27th of each month (even if it’s a weekend).
Printed Version – we’re mailing them out to you from the 20th December. This will give you enough time to hand them out to your family and friends and get them pinned up on your walls ready for 2013!
Are there any freebies?
YES! For the ladies, Vicious Vixen will be providing you with one free personal training session in 2013, and for everyone City Gym will be giving you a one week free pass to use their facilities. We’re working on more freebies for you for 2013 too!
How does this support Community Brave?
The calendar is a Community Brave project which aims to spread the knowledge that if we keep ourselves fit and healthy in body, mind and soul; we continue to work as teams and work towards eradicating bullying then in the long run, we’ll all be more equipped to tackle the huge bullying problem.
This calendar is not being used for fundraising purposes, as we don’t make any profits. Rather it’s awareness raising and helping get our name out there to a greater audience. Plus, we want you all to stay in touch with us throughout the year and what more practical way to do that, then having you see our calendar and use it on a daily basis!
Here’s the registration link once again!
Spread the word and share this with your networks …. The more, the merrier!
Thanking you all in advance for all your support!
Rami + Community Brave Team
This project has been sponsored by:
By Johny Blue Boy
Do you ever question
why you’re born at all
wonder what your made for
and what may be your call
this question often rises up
in sombreness and sadness
but rest assured there is no doubt
you’re absolutely fabulous
Life can test the route we take
people block our way
but just remember there are some
who’ll help you everyday
Look around and find the ones
who want you to succeed
don’t give in to nasty folk
the ones you’ll never need
Weather you’re young or aged in years
life can still be marvellous
let nothing on earth hold you back
you’re absolutely fabulous
Ponder on the good times
with ones you hold so dear
share with them your worries
and let your mind be clear
Dream of all the things you love
make them huge and wondrous
life is yours so live those dreams
be absolutely fabulous
Magical years await your grace
live loud or live anonymous
put a smile upon your face
stay strong and just be fabulous
Many have failed to live their life
their pain was all to ravenous
but you my friend will make it through
You’re absolutely fabulous
©John O’Brien Conroy 2012
A Little Thought
By Johny Blue Boy
Closing eyes but seeing clear
there’s something I can do
it’s very easy to engage
it’s a little thought of you
A little thought is simple
it can really make my day
this thought I’m having of you now
is banked and there to stay
Doesn’t take much work at all
and nor does it relent
an exuberant and happy thought
it’s time that’s so well spent
Weather you’re near or far away
this thought will bring you close
a fragrant picture for my mind
an intoxicating dose
Intertwining thoughts emerge
and pander to my heart
this little thought has multiplied
and so begins a start
a start of magic moments
from the little things you do
these thoughts of mine are precious gems
They collaborate for you
A tender little moment
I retrace your warming smile
I’m ever so happy to think of you
and think of you in style
Steal a moment from my thoughts
in absence of your grace
there’s always room in there for you
I smile to see your face
I’ve had a little thought today
and many more ensue
thanks for giving me food for thought
thanks for being you
©John O’Brien Conroy 2012
By Johny Blue Boy
Starting with a blank canvas
you’re going to make a treat
hopes and dreams you’ll meet
your fantasy complete
this art that you’re about to make
will show in its entire
the bitter sweet fulfilment
you’ll get from your desire
Paint a picture of my life
make me rise and sway
recreate the scenes you like
before I went away
Add true colour with glitter in
to keep alive the fun
make me sparkle clean of sin
warm my face with sun
Clear the skies keep them blue
the happy days we had
disregard I upset you
and disappointed dad
Be sure to add the wedding
the wife the house and kid
even though I didn’t do that
let’s pretend I did
Imagine i’m the someone
who can make you smile again
let’s go back to where it started
was i eight nine or ten
Digging in the garden
playing on the swings
paint me doing all the normal
fun and wholesome things
Tickle me on the sofa
then throw me in the air
the last time you loved me
sketch and paint us there
Erase the paint from 10 years old
I looked to you as strange
rub out all the teenage years
my identity morphed and changed
let us not remember
all the hints I tried Speak
get that brush and water down
what I was made to hide and sneak
Tarnish the monster portrait
the one you painted last
throw away that nasty me
it’s painting in the past
Rinse your brush select a colour
continue this depiction
fix your smile paint some more
completely with your fiction
The painting looks so beautiful
it’s family all the way
but now you say the painting is void
because your child is gay
You miss the picture don’t you see
the one you ought to love
the very painting I was in
before the deathly shove
not that your hand killed me
though i’m missing in your painting
throw me out the front door
then turn to mother fainting
All alone and terrorised
I’m punished for being me
I’m outcast by my own blood
it’s a tragic folly to see
With a broken heart and lost soul
I wander the abyss
I’m scared and all I want is mum’s
secure arms and her kiss
Remember me as someone
who didn’t live here long
and i rest upon my angel wings
for being gay was apparently wrong
Sorry for your terrible loss
what a price to pay
it seems now you have your child
dead instead of gay
©John O’Brien Conroy 2011
This beautiful and powerful post is written by Johny Blue Boy (John O’Brien Conroy)
Drip drip drip
falls my frightened tears
they are the only thing i have
to quench my thirsty fears
Shake rattle hide
whenever danger nears
an everyday endurance
inflicted by my peers
Morning light embraces me
invites me out of bed
but when it’s time to go to school
i just wish i was dead
Life is not worth living
i suffocate in fear
everyday i live in hell
i wonder why I’m here
School yard and another day
and later on the streets
not fast enough to run away
my heart just beats and beats
Breathing hard when petrified
the world just spins around
with knobbly knees and dizzy head
i crash down to the ground
open wide and flinching fast
my eyes try not to stare
i really cannot bare to see
how much they just don’t care
It’s hunting games they’re all guns
and i’m the fleeting deer
please insist they let me live
help me I’m still here
See when i am alone
i dream of several things
mostly of me flying high
with superhero wings
away from all the hurtful slaps
and kicks my bullies bring
packing up escaping
from this reoccurring sting
But flying high and having wings
does not mean i must die
it means i must stand up
and let world know why i cry
The bully only wins the war
if silent i remain
so vocal i shall start to be
in spite of fear and pain
Listen up you bully
it’s time you knew your place
life is an athletic field
and i am in this race
I can seek the help i need
stop your cruel rampage
it’s time to start my vocal chords
to challenge and engage
Instinct shouts and urges me
to rise above it all
you will not be the death of me
you will not make me fall
Come in close and let me whisper
something very clear
when you grow a conscience
you’ll be glad that i’m still here
©John O’Brien Conroy 2012
This beautiful and powerful post is written by Johny Blue Boy (John O’Brien Conroy).
With eagerness and focus
they single out the tame
they build their macho trophy
then each of them lay claim
The bullies bullets terrorise
whenever they overpower
there was a sweet innocent deer
they taunted every hour
They all line up to take a shot
some with deadly aim
their hunger for an open wound
is sure to strike and maim
When target’s hit and Bambi’s down
and bleeding on the floor
someone shouts let’s reload
and shoot the deer some more
but bored of flaunting power
they retreat another day
and all that this poor deer can do
is slowing limp away
He gets home to his bed
made of agony and hay
the spirit of the little deer
breaks and fades to grey
without choice he soldiers on
and wakes another day
not much left to fight for
his hope just drifts away
He licks his wounds around his head
just beneath his mullet
petrified he goes to eat
and dodge the bullies bullet
All the poor deer wants
is to play and eat the grass
but all those bullies stop him
and never let him pass
Forced to eat the dry hay
but before he had a bite
deer was shot, wounded again
and ran off in the night
He cried as he got home
lay on his bed again
he’s been shot by bullies bullets
since the age of ten
Afraid to leave his room
the pain of all those hits
he couldn’t face another day
he was broken into bits
His life to hard to live
time had come cull it
little deer let go of life
because of bullies bullet
You silly bully you fired a bullet
for self fulfilling thrill
and now you are responsible
look what you helped kill
The little deer is free from you
but lives are now destroyed
left behind are shattered parts
of hearts that now lay void.
©John O’Brien Conroy 2012
Yesterday was a pretty full on day for us. It started with some wonderful work by one of our champions and ambassadors, Charlotte Dawson and quickly tuned into a day of seeing some of humanity’s ugliest side.
We were going to declare it the Day of the Trolls, but thought a little further about this and figured we would not give them that level of gratification.
It really disturbs me to look back over yesterday’s events and see how much hatred there is in the online world. It’s even more disturbing to think that this hatred is not even due to any personal implications, but rather because of the mob mentality that comes along with cyber bullying.
The true nature of the dark side of social media was revealed in extremist comments of hatred, of evil and of wanting to hurt someone – whom they have no personal affiliation with – someone who they know through a TV set, and online forum or a social network.
Along with Charlotte being attacked, even our organisation was attacked. Our mission is to stop this from happening online – surely even cyber bullies have no reason to attack an organisation who is trying to achieve social good? Boy, we were wrong.
Here are some horrific examples (vulgar words have been modified):
Frank Gardiner @FrankGardiner :
@MsCharlotteD neck yourself you filthy slut, and how the f—k did you become a model, you actually look retarted
Testi McTest @whySoSubhuman:
@MsCharlotteD Please do the world a favor go hang yourself.#diecharlotte
Sieg Heil @SiegenHeil:
@MsCharlotteD Go kill yourself you f—king Whore. #diecharlotte
Edward Stevenson @EdwardStevens10 :
@MsCharlotteD @spikedecadent Shut up bitch. no one loves you.
Niggah @ghfdjc :
@MsCharlotteD You can’t ban us, you stupid whore! You’re just making it worse for yourself. Go and hang yourself, you utter waste of oxygen.
There was even a highly disturbing graphical image of a young boy who was dismembered with wishes that the same would happen to Charlotte.
At one point, and I’m not even sure how, but members of the Twitter page @9GAG, with almost one million followers, decided to launch an assault on Charlotte.
Here are some more disgusting examples:
David Wang @DavidWa71075744 :
@MsCharlotteD charlotte kill yourself you racist motherf—ker. dug your mum up & skullf—k her corpse! @9gag
Spike the Decadent @spikedecadent :
@MsCharlotteD I see ur jimmies be rustled c—t. Freedom of speech Bitch. Hang yourself with love from the U.S.
Rim Justles @RimJustles :
@MsCharlotteD GO F—KING hANG YOURSELF WITH A JUMPROPE SLUT, YOU CAN’T BAN US. LE 9GAG ARMYhttp://9gag.com/
kervi @kervi :
RT @DavidWa71075744: @MsCharlotteD I heard you can’t have children!! LOL sucks for you please die c—t! — XOOO BALAJ!! GRABE LANG.
Does anyone deserve to be treated this way? Imagine being a young person and receiving this level of attack from the online world. Even as adults, there were many of us that were finding it hard to cope with this yesterday. Disturbing.
So where do we go from here?
I wrote this blog to highlight how awful it was to experience a full scale attack yesterday and to emphasise that we still have a long way to go before we can eradicate online bullying.
I wrote this blog to show my utter respect, admiration and support for Charlotte Dawson – whom yesterday became the punching bag of the internet.
I wrote this blog to not only educate you, but inspire you to not be a bystander. Not even when bullying occurs online.
If your friends are participating in such actions, do not commend or add to it. Rather, tell them that it has no place in our society and that as their friends – you will lose respect for them if they continue.
If a stranger attacks you online – simply walk away. Attack is the strongest form of defence and people seem to be a lot larger in life online than in the real world. There words should mean nothing and you should never take them to heart – after all, you know exactly who you are and don’t need any strangers to tell you otherwise.
Social media is a tool that should be embraced for social good – bringing people together in the digital world to help benefit each other and society. Unfortunately, we do live among online trolls who have decided to use social media as a weapon.
Cyber bullying, specifically the threatening, harassment and sever abuse are criminal offences – and will not be tolerated in any way, shape or form. But it all comes down to you. The internet is a self-policing wonderful network that allows each of us to contribute to it. Just as the cyber bullies yesterday claimed ‘freedom of speech’ so should you – Free to speak to stop bullying whenever you see it happening.
Always remember – every person is someone’s child, mother, brother, sister, nephew, uncle, best friend. Would you want this to happen to your family?
Let’s stop this madness. Let’s focus on working together. Let’s end this epidemic.