Beating the Bullies
I’ve just started work on my new novel for teenagers. Called Finding Cherokee Brown, it is about a girl who becomes the victim of her school bullies – and how she finds the courage to fight back.
Bullying is a subject very close to my heart. Although my own personal experience was limited to a couple of isolated incidents during junior school, I know several people whose teenaged lives were ruined by long term bullying.
The effects of bullying can be hugely damaging – with victims suffering from low self esteem and other emotional scars well into adulthood. When I was a practising life coach I met many people whose adult fears and insecurities stemmed from childhood bullying.
What frustrates me the most is that it still seems to be so endemic in our schools – and now of course online – meaning that the victim can feel as if there’s no escape.
I appreciate that it is very difficult for teachers to be aware of what is going on in the playground or on Facebook, but surely there must be more that can be done to prevent bullying and to support its victims.
I know of several cases where bullying has been reported in a school only for the teachers to wring their hands and say that there’s nothing they can do until it becomes physical, other than offer the victim counselling.
When I first heard this it sent me hopping around the room in rage. Firstly, why should a child have to wait until he or she is physically beaten up before anything is done to protect them. And secondly, words can be far more damaging than a punch or a kick.
How much longer are we going to sit back and allow young lives to be ruined – or in the worst case scenarios, lost?
I don’t claim to have any answers, but I think that’s why I want to write my next book, to try and provoke some debate on the subject and help those affected.
If you have been affected by bullying and would like to help me in my research, please feel free to email me via this site…