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Bullying – problems for young and old

Column by Sonja Herter Former Donwell resident

            Bullying, a concerning problem, has been around for a long time and is still getting a lot of attention because some just don’t get it.

            Bullying may come in various forms where a stronger individual intimidates another to get what is wanted. It may be name calling, pushing, shoving, punching, excessive teasing, posing threats, tripping and even spitting on someone. It can be taking away prized possessions and even breaking them to get the end result. It is a form of abuse, both physical and verbal, leaving visible signs of bruises, scratches, depression, loss of appetite, disturbed sleeping, isolation and even lying by the victim.

            With younger school children, where the place was once a place of favourite activities, school becomes a place where the child is not eager to go. Unexpected sicknesses such as stomach aches and headaches are excuses to avoid what were once safe havens. The same applies to adults, in whatever circumstances, whether it be a person in the work place or a senior trying to enjoy retirement. Work becomes less of a pleasure, but more of a chore. Activities such as sports, hobbies, and games that the individual was once passionate about become activities in which the individual does not want to partake.

            Some individuals have such a strong competitive nature at these gatherings that what was meant to be fun, turns out otherwise. Good sportsmanship goes by the wayside. Bullying is even evident within a family where siblings think it’s a joke to humiliate or put down a person or irritate another in whatever way.

            Home should also be a safe haven. The self esteem of the person being bullied is lowered. Many think this type of behaviour does not do any harm, but if you are on the receiving end, it is not fun. Recently awareness was drawn to extensive bullying with the “pink shirt day” but even though there is a lot more awareness, it still continues to be a silent problem for many.

            Be aware of what you say or do to others. Think about it!

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