Do you know someone who has been bullied, or have you experienced bullying yourself? Chances are, the answer is yes. According to The Bully Project, a powerful documentary on the subject that came out in 2011, a staggering 13 million kids are likely to experience bullying in America this year. And DoSomething.org reported that 160,000 students skip school every day – just to avoid being bullied.
Bully behavior ranges widely from physical intimidation or violence (pushing, shoving etc.), to verbal threats, rumor spreading, and put-downs about someone’s academic performance, weight, gender or sexual orientation – really anything that makes someone “different” than the perceived status quo.
Bullying happens in schools, after-school clubs, workplaces, and even at home. And with computers and smart phones becoming an increasingly important part of how we communicate, cyber-bulling (bullying via email, social media or texting) has added a whole new dimension to the problem. Whatever the specific form bullying takes, it tends to leave the victim feeling the same way: powerless and alone.
Fortunately, bullying – and particularly how to stop it – has gotten a lot of media attention lately. And today, people across the country are celebrating Unity Day – a day to unite against bullying and promote friendship, tolerance and self-esteem. Unity Day also offers the chance to get plugged into some organizations that are doing great work to fight bullying on the ground and help build kinder, more thoughtful schools and communities. Check them out:
- BBYO: This Jewish Youth Leadership organization, which is committed to respect and inclusion of all teenagers, is the exclusive partner with the Bully Project in bringing the film and supportive curriculum and discussion guide to Jewish teen audiences across North America.
- The Trevor Project: This organization works to prevent suicide (much of it related to bullying) within the LGBTQ community.
- DoSomething: This organization’s Bully Text game lets people engage themselves and their friends in the issue of bullying, while potentially winning cool prizes.
- Cartoon Network: This cable network naturally reaches a lot of kids – so how cool is it that they started an interactive anti-bullying website and resource hub?
How will you celebrate Unity Day? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us at @repairtheworld.