We were very sad to hear of Simon Brooks who in April died of an overdose aged just 15 years old. He left a note which blamed bullies for making his life a misery. His mum Julie Brooks said her son had been bullied by classmates and dreaded going to school each day in South Wales. She also said Simon did not want to press charges or complain to the school authorities, because he felt it would only make things worse.
One of the things we always stress in our anti-bullying drama workshops is that bullies rely on the fact that their victims won’t tell anyone out of fear that the bullying will become worse. But what we stress is if you don’t tell, the bullies will think they can get away with it and carry on doing it, and the more people you tell, the more people can keep an eye on you and keep you safe.
We also tell young people to stand up for themselves – but how should they do this?
A passive response is to behave as if other people’s rights matter more than yours. You do nothing, allowing the bullies to get away with their behaviour and think they can do it again.
An aggressive response is to behave as if your rights matter than those of other people. You challenge the bullies in an aggressive way, possibly leading to trading insults and a fight, getting yourself hurt or in more trouble.
The best response is an assertive response – respecting yourself and others equally. This means sticking up for yourself without getting into a fight.
- Use positive body language – trick yourself into feeling confident. Stand up tall, maintain eye contact.
- Be clear about what you want – that is my bag, I want you to give it back.
- Use the broken record technique – keep repeating your request in different ways.
- Don’t respond to insults.
- If the situation is too difficult – get yourself out, there is no shame in running away.
- Remember – you are more important than your possessions, they can be replaced and you cannot.
We have a number of different options for this years anti-bullying week so take a look at our anti-bullying drama workshops or contact us for more details.