October puts the focus on Bullying

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.


Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

After a while, every month gets designated as the month for something. Even the weeks get designated for certain things, and finally the days. When the months are all used up, you’ll find that some months put the focus on more than one thing, and so too then do the weeks and the days.
But generally, if something is the focus of a whole month you can be sure it deserves some special attention. So while this particular month brings to mind many fun and happy October events, such as pumpkins that magically turn into pumpkin pies or Jack o’ lanterns, children dressed up in Halloween costumes, which bring to mind the old custom of their Trick or Treating throughout the neighborhood — even if that custom may be long gone or on the way out thanks to events of the past year or two (or even more) — or even the thought of pretty things such as the changing color of the leaves, and the warmth and happiness of sitting around a campfire or a fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa and fresh-baked cookies, the thing we are focusing on is a lot more important than any of that fun, tradition, or happiness that may usually surface during this month.
Apparently some children — and even some adults — never really fully understood how horrible bullying can be to the victim on the receiving end and the subject needs to be addressed at least every year during the month of October.
If you’ve ever made a child or any person cry (inwardly or outwardly) by something you said or did, consider if you might unknowingly (or far, far worse, knowingly) be a bully.
In no special order of importance, have you ever:
—Made fun of something someone was wearing?
—Implied, stated, or by facial or other gestures, indicated that you
thought a person smelled bad?
—Made it clear that they were NOT part of the smart or “in” crowd?
—Insulted their hair, face, style, walk, way of speaking, etc.?
—Insulted their friends, siblings, parents, grandparents, etc.?
—Insulted their nationality, skin color, accent, or religion?
—Made fun of their height, weight, thinness, or heaviness?
—Made fun of the things they were interested in or the books they
carried around?
—Made fun of the vehicle that someone who picked them up or dropped
them off was driving?
—Made fun of the size of their nose, ears, eyes, or any other feature
or part of their body, or called attention to their bust size or small
hands or such?
—Refused to acknowledge them when they walked by, or to give a
greeting in return?
—Made up stories about them to either embarrass them or get them in trouble?
—Lied about something they did or didn’t do?
—Set them up for looking like they were guilty of something such as
stealing or using a weapon?
—Tripped them or made them fall to either dirty their clothes, make
them late, or to get a laugh at their expense?
—Asked them an embarrassing question in front of others, such as “Is
your rash all cleared up yet?” or “Did you ever find your missing
jockstrap?” etc.
And that is not the comprehensive list of things that bullies might do. Sometimes, from the victim’s standpoint, it might be helpful to know what could make a person act like a bully (such as violence in their home, maybe from a parent or live-in relative or renter; or a recent death in the family or separation), but generally, the victim doesn’t care what problems his tormenter may have since he (or she) is suffering greatly at their hands and is even considering suicide,
thanks to their thoughtless and unkind actions.
Questions for you, the bully:
1) What exactly is the reason you feel the need to bully — torment —
the person you have chosen as your victim?
2) Are you bullying your victim with full consciousness, knowing what
you are doing?
3) Are you then aware of how your behavior is making your victim feel?
4) Do you continue doing what you do — bullying your victim — no
matter how he or she might feel?
5) Did you start bullying with the desire to not only hurt or torment
your victim but also to make his or her life miserable, even to the
point of their wanting to commit suicide?
6) Did your victim ever ask you to stop?
7) Did anyone else ever ask you to stop your bullying?
8) Did you ever get in trouble for your bullying… with a teacher, a
parent, another adult?
9) Did you ever try to stop but were bullied yourself into keeping it up?
10) Did any of your bully tactics ever result in death, accidentally
or more on purpose?
11) If yes to the above, if you could have another chance to do it
over, would you do the same thing again?
12) Would you like to stop being a bully?
13) What would help you to stop your bullying?
14) Are you afraid you’ll lose friends if you stop bullying?
15) Are you willing to stop bullying anyway?
16) Are you willing to ask their forgiveness?
17) Are you willing to be friends with your victim?
18) Are you willing to be part of the “Stop bullying” team?
19) Are you willing to stop bullying wherever you see it?
20) Can you say that you’ll never be a bully again?
Just as there are many ways one can be bullied, there are also many reasons for the bullying to begin in the first place, but they do not matter more than the damage that is done to the victim. There have been many articles in newspapers about students who were bullied into suicide. It is never a joke when that happens. There is a cause, and it IS the constant bullying. While a bully may someday be able to forgive him- or herself for leading their victim to that outcome,
knowing that such a thing can — and often has — led to that result, it can be avoided now if those who are inclined to act like a bully can simply put themselves in their victim’s shoes, see how it feels, and never let that happen.
While the golden rule is the simple rule of thumb for how to treat others, for those who don’t want to get involved with rules of any kind, I have just three little words for you on how to avoid ever being a bully and how to never have to live with that heaviness hanging over your head — the fact that you were responsible for the cause of some person’s death: JUST BE KIND.
* * * * *
From An Online Bullying Website:
What to Do After a Bullying Incident
Whether you or someone you know has been victimized online or in person, there are some things that you can do to help with the situation. The first, of course, is to report the bullying. If you or someone you know experienced school-related bullying, either at school, on the bus, or traveling to and from school, you need to report it to the appropriate authorities.
Contact a teacher or an administrator and explain what happened. It also helps to provide documentation such as the name of the perpetrator, date, time, place, and names of any witnesses.
When it comes to getting help for bullying and cyberbullying, it’s important to know what resources are available to you. After all, bullying is not a situation that should be dealt with alone. Aside from the physical injuries and emotional anguish, bullying rarely ends without intervention. As a result, it’s important that parents, school officials, and possibly even law enforcement team up together to bring an end to the harassment.
In order to heal from bullying, it is important to have support and encouragement.
Bully Hotlines to call for help: 1) National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline—Call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK); or 2) Helpline at 1-844-878-2274.
* * * * *
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at maramistribune@gmail.com.

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