On October 13, 2015 our GTM volunteer, Elizabeth Staton, spoke to the chapter about bullying and prevention. Every girl was asked to draw what a bully “looks like”. While drawing, the girls discussed some of the following questions:
- What is bullying?
- Who bullies?
- Where does bullying happen?
- When does bullying happen?
- Why does bullying happen?
The girls brought up the different types of bullying, such as: verbal, physical, and social bullying. We talked about siblings beating up on each other, girls gossiping at school, and the pain of losing a friend as a result of bullying. Elizabeth asked the girls two very important questions: Who has been bullied? & Who has bullied others? More often than not, we see girls who are the victim and the bully in different situations. The girls spent a lot of time discussing how bullying puts the victim down and simultaneously builds the bully up. When asked to speak about their bully drawings, Elizabeth noted 3 themes:
- Girls drew the victim as small and fragile, and the bully as large and muscular.
- Bullying relies on a power differential; the bully gains power through the act, while the victim feels small and weak.
- Several drew a broken heart.
- Bullies are sometimes facing serious hardship in other areas of their lives. Some people take out their heartache and frustration by bullying others.
- Many girls drew a single person or a large group of people.
- Anyone and everyone can be a bully – and oftentimes, that’s exactly what happens.
We all want to feel strong but we all face hardships in life. There are many of us that have been bullied and have bullied others in return. We grow by acknowledging what causes us, and others, to act as a bully. Elizabeth focused on the power differential that happens as a result of bullying. Just like the girls’ drawings, in a case of bullying, one person is large and the other is small. So how do we meet in the middle? How can we find the size that’s just right? Elizabeth asked the girls to focus on one characteristic that is unique to them – a characteristic that makes them proud to be who they are. Each girl wrote one thing about herself on a strip of paper and then the entire chapter linked their papers together to form a chain. Our chain represents the best parts of ourselves – the parts that lift us up and empower us to feel big or strong. You are enough – you do not need to bully others to feel bigger when you can see your own strengths. And if you are being bullied, recognizing your strengths will help you to overcome that feeling of being small and vulnerable. By linking ourselves, we pledge to support each piece of the chain through any test of strength. Some situations, like bullying, may seek to expose weakness in our chain – but as long as we value the power that each link provides, our chain will stay strong.
If you are experiencing bullying at school, on the bus, or in your neighborhood – who can you talk to? You do not have to face a bully alone. Talk to your parents, your principal, and your school counselor. If you would like to come to our next chapter meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information! We are always looking to add new links to our chain 🙂