Out of 35 countries, Canada has the ninth highest rate of bullying among 13-year-olds. Almost half, 47 per cent, of all Canadian parents reported having a child who is suffering from bullying.
Much of what goes on happens at school.
It is one thing to read about the problem, but it is quite another to have a child who is suffering from attack from a relentless bully.
The fallout is, at the very least, internalized shame. The product of internalized shame is often withdrawal and reclusiveness—a progressive condition that robs victims of the eagerness and joy that is the birthright of every child.
Here’s another statistic: a startling 40 per cent of Canadian workers have experienced bullying on a weekly basis in the workplace. Further, among adults in Canada, 38 per cent of males and 30 per cent of females stated that they experienced bullying during their school years.
Victims of bullying, regardless of age, may have to endure name-calling and hitting, experience their attacker spreading rumours or deliberately embarrassing them in public. They may experience an aggressive campaign of cyberbullying via the Internet, where anonymity fuels the bravado of the typical bully. Their attacker may post humiliating photos of them online.
Bullying often results in long-term affects to physical, psychological and emotional health. Children may become so tormented they will avoid going to school or riding the school bus out of fear. They may become despondent, lonely and isolated, even at home. They may suffer depression, low self-esteem, and actually become physically ill due to the stress they wind up internalizing.
Bullying can be fatal.
There is new anti-bullying legislation, drafted in 2012 and expected to be ratified in 2015, that will be effective in provinces and territories across Canada to allow new policies and enforceable laws to be put in place. Schools are involved with cutting-edge awareness programs and anti-bullying campaigns. Today, Wednesday, February 26, is anti-bullying day, a day of national awareness. All are steps in the right direction. However, history has proven that bullying is an insidious problem with no easy solution.
These facts and statistics beg the question: what is happening, or not happening, to create an environment in which people feel compelled to torment and abuse others to a degree where virtually every second person can relate a bullying experience?