Sunday, November 15, 2009
Bullying in Canada: When Indifference Kills
Today is the beginning of Bullying Awareness Week in Canada, and once again this humble campaign's biggest enemy is the indifference of so many Canadians.
As Rick Mercer said in a video last year, for those long out of school Bullying Awareness Week can seem at bit like National Nutrition Week.... and is easily ignored.
Until you google BULLYING and SUICIDE and you realize it's a huge problem. One that can ruin lives or end them way too soon. Or you read what Michaëlle Jean recently wrote:
"Bullying is not only about threats and intimidation, it is foremost about contempt and injustice.”
Or you know that 60 percent of boys who are bullies in elementary school will have a criminal record by the age of twenty-four. So it's EVERYBODY'S problem...and we all have to stand-up to bullies whoever they are.
Which is why I'm so happy..and proud... to see Montrealers like Nico Archambault doing just that.
I was the only guy in the dance part of the sports/dance program and was surrounded by hockey players, divers, gymnasts and swimmers. I was automatically labelled as gay and experienced homophobia first hand.
Cruel jokes, intimidation, insults. People ignored me, pretended I wasn’t there and had no respect for what I had to say. They would steal or damage my belongings and people would team up to hurt me physically. I took a couple of beatings.
And why I'm so grateful for organizations like this one and this one.
And all the parents and teachers and kids who are trying to do something to fight this horrible problem.
This campaign for a kinder, gentler Canada still doesn't have enough support or resources. It's still an uphill struggle in the face of public indifference. For too many kids, like gay teens, school is still a war zone
And of course Stephen Harper's Con government is doing nothing to help gay kids or all the other victims.
Despite these dismal statistics, organizations like PREVNet that work to promote positive relationships and combat bullying among Canadian kids are about to run out of federal funding with no new funding in sight, despite their being linked with 62 expert researchers from 27 Canadian universities, and 49 national organizations.
Because these Cons are not just homophobes, they are bullies themselves. Which is the main reason I dislike them so much.
But thanks to people like Nico Archambault and thousands and thousands of others we are making some progress. We just have to do more.
Because whether it's in the schoolyard... or the workplace... or the seniors home ... or wherever.
Every life COUNTS...
I am the person who says bullies are cowards, and will fight them FOREVER.
I am the person who believes indifference KILLS.
I am the person who says bullying is cruel and EVIL.
And it stops HERE...