In the last few years, my most popular speaking topics have been centered around diversity and bullying. Intimidation is easy to identify when actions are overt but sometimes bullying and the inability to live with diversity presents itself more subtly. Either way, the effect on the individual is similar: low self-esteem, not being good enough and depression.
Kids and adults will tell themselves “I should be able to handle it” or “Maybe they don’t really mean it” or even “It’s my fault”.
Why do people bother with these justifications?
Because at the end of the day, we all want to be liked. We want to be accepted for who we are regardless of our warts and wrinkles.
What we look like on the outside even with our imperfections is to remind ourselves to get away from the perceived notion that anyone is the ideal perfection.
I was so worried about what others thought, I forgot that they were worried about the same thing.
School Statistics from the National Bullying Prevention Center (Jan 2016):
- One out of every four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year.
- 64 percent of children who were bullied did not report it; only 36 percent reported the bullying.
- School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%.
- The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%).
When I was growing up, I was obviously very different. It wasn’t as though I had an unpopular opinion or a sexual orientation that no one would know unless I spoke up. No, all I had to do was show up and say nothing and I was different. As a result, I was bullied, ignored, pointed at, and the object of hurtful name-calling. I even had a fist-fight with a boy in fourth grade! My point is that I have first-hand experience with people who had no idea how to interact with someone different. Those kids had little to no understanding that it isn’t a threat to be with other kids with different ideas, disabilities, talents and ambitions.
Statistics also show that more than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.
People can and do help each other
when they are given the tools to do so.
I am committed to educating, supporting and empowering people who have experienced bullying and diversity intolerance.
Often being bullied as a kid carries over similar thoughts and perceptions of one’s self into adult life. The sense of inadequacy, vulnerability, and lack of confidence in one’s ability affects how we live and work with others.
Bullying also exists in the workplace
You might hope that adults would be less inclined towards bullying. Statistics, however tell us that bullying is present in the workplace – as well as simple day-to-day interactions in the world.
What propels people to pick on each other and what can be done to facilitate cohesive relationships?
How can you help your team genuinely respect each others differences?
The Workplace Bullying Institute 2014 National Survey defined bullying as repeated mistreatment; abusive conduct that is: threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, work sabotage, or verbal abuse. Here are some of their key findings:
- 27% have current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work
- 72% of the American public are aware of workplace bullying
- Bosses are still the majority of bullies
- 72% of employers deny, discount, encourage, rationalize or defend it
My posts about Diversity & Bullying look at the who, what, where, when and why of this issue.
I welcome your stories as well!