Memories are such beautiful things. They are timeless treasures of the heart. As rightly quoted by Dana Spiotta, ‘Your memories from your early childhood seem to have such purchase on your emotions. They are so concrete’. Childhood memories like playing with your siblings and messing around in the garden or wonderful moments of playing in the rain are always magical. Some memories are fun to recreate while others are not so beautiful. One of such is the memory of being bullied.
Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual. Bullying can be physical, verbal or relational. The devastating effects of feeling frightened, angry and depressed can be overwhelming for a child and can even leave its mark as the child grows into an adult. In 2012, The United Nations took a stand in the Anti-Bullying campaign and declared May 4 as Anti-Bullying Day.
The bullying phenomenon is as old as the beginning of communal living and still occurs in our schools and communities. To the bully, he/she is superior as there is always an excuse to put someone down to feel up while the bullied does not understand why it would be someone’s daily mission to hurt or make him/her feel bad about themselves. From teary eyes to other form of body injuries inflicted by the bully, a worst case scenario of bullying activities are cases of young children committing suicide.
Timothy, not real name, has always on been on the “big” side from his childhood days. He was a reserved and an easy going fellow and wondered why anyone would have a problem with such good qualities expected of a young child. In his case, it was a gang of bullies who would usually confront him after the day’s activity at school and often times leaving him feeling bad. Damilola’s case were very cruel taunts and regular teasing from neighbours, children and even some adults who should know better. Her crime: she is an albino.
We witnessed first -hand the habit of bullying when we accommodated twelve children during our Care Continuity Challenge Initiative Project. As part of our rehabilitation programme, we educated the children on how to resolve conflicts between themselves, and taught them how to communicate in non-aggressive ways. It was hard to knock off the bad habits they had picked from the streets, but it wasn’t impossible.
Bullying is real. Bullying is bad. It can be stopped, but we must kick against it! Were you a bully or were you at the receiving end? What practical steps did you take to deal with the situation. What would you do if you see the person who bullied you as a child? Feel free to share your story with us. Let’s talk.
Written by Emeke Ndego
Photo credit: http://www.atlantic.ctvnew.ca