Transcript of Speech September 15 2002, Egham Literary Institute by Louise
founder of Act Against Bullying, helping children affected by bullying at
school, I am often asked the question, ‘What exactly is bullying?’
There are obviously as many definitions as there are opinions, but one is
‘A student is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed,
repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more
began with my research and writing on the very insidious Exclusion to Cause
Distress. Best defined as ‘being isolated from the group’ ECD
is probably the most practiced form of psychological bullying today, particularly
amongst girls. It is not simply a change of social set; there’s always
a ‘forcing out’ by the bully using manipulative techniques which
affect the popularity of the victim and reduce their self esteem as a result.
aspects of this form of intimidation may be consistent mockery, name-calling,
the demeaning of the individual and his or her family, the passing of socially
off-putting rumours, and so forth. In fact, the various ploys are only limited
by the imagination of the bullies. A powerful tactic, it is likely that
ECD is responsible for the majority of suicides amongst young people directly
attributable to bullying at school.
who have been bullied at school become withdrawn and introspective. If they
follow the advice given and ‘tell a teacher’ very often their
situation deteriorates. They then feel like ‘a troublemaker’.
They are most certainly branded as one, even worse, a paranoid troublemaker.
So the best thing, they think, is to keep quiet, go with the flow, keep
in with the crowd. As a reward for their sycophancy and silence the gang
selects another target. For the former victim, the relief of reacceptance
is so great that when the leader dictates ‘Everyone ignore so-and-so’
they join the scheme without a murmur of disapproval. And so the circle
of suspicion keeps spinning.
what are the consequences of this action? At home the mother of the new
victim is distraught. Unable to sleep, she agonises over what to do. Bullying
carries a stigma, so no one wants to talk about it. Is she personally to
blame for her child’s suffering. What can she do to make her son or
daughter more acceptable. Buy the latest £50 trainers that they can
ill afford? Move house? Should she approach the school or will that make
teachers have their hands tied behind their back as parents are often involved.
Private schools are rife with ambitious mothers reinforcing exclusionary
tactics to better their childrens’ social positions. State schools
are a multicultural mix with family prejudices being played out in the classroom.
The tragedy is always the child victim, suffering the cruel and unhappy
consequences. Very often the long term casualty is the bully them self,
building a reputation that will one day catch up with them. One thing is
for sure, there are rarely any winners when bullying at school is involved.
knows the distress a parent suffers when their child is being bullied. Please
email us if you need our support. We care about you too.