Bullies are everywhere. They run you off the road, they leap from the shadows at places of work, they haunt from the hallways of schools and they seek us out in cyberspace. I feel sad for bullies because clearly something has been missing from their lives or something has been present that never should have been.
It’s easy to fall target to bullies. All you really need to be is different from them. The differences can be gender identification, skin color, size, values, ethics, the list goes on.
I’ve been bullied plenty in my lifetime. The most recent times were last month and this month, October, which, coincidentally, is National Bully Prevention Month. And both of these times, I was just being me and doing the right thing.
In September, I was cyberbullied when I posted a comment on a social media channel about how proud I am of my place of employment for all of the work they do to support diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. I received several responses to the post, of which one resulted in me replying that “Black Lives Matter.” And then I received an onslaught of cyberbullying accusing me of being a white supremist. I was shocked and I was shaking. Obviously, there was a critical thinking deficit on the part of the bullies for responding to my post in that manner, but still I was hurt and rattled.
Fortunately, there are tools for dealing with cyber bullies. If you are ever in this situation, you can block posts and report bullies to the social media channel managers. I was able to stop the inundation of bullying remarks through these tactics. Did the encounters scare me? Yes. Will it stop me from being me? No.
The second recent bullying event took place this month when a stray dog landed on our porch. This sweet little guy is no stranger to us as he has been coming for visits for over 4 years. We have suggested to the family several times that they get a license and micro-chip for Buddy, as we have affectionately nicknamed him, provide him with monthly-preventative treatments, and make sure he is kept safe and well. The bad news is Buddy clearly has not been receiving monthly treatments and has no license. The good news is that, always prepared for a visit from him, we had kept the owner’s contact information handy.
We reached out to the owners and began the wait to hear back from them. We couldn’t go to their home for reasons it would be unfair for me to disclose here. We couldn’t bring Buddy into our house because we feared he might be contagious and would put our dogs at risk. We couldn’t leave him outside unattended either. So we found ourselves reaching out to the official experts with authority. Ultimately, we needed to reach out to more authorities for our own protection because of being bullied by a representative of the family.
There’s a song co-written and sung by Jill Scott called “Hate on Me” that has a line in it “No matter where I live, despite the things I give, you’ll always be this way, so go ahead and hate on me hater now or later, ‘cause I’m gonna do me.”
I’ll keep being me – taking a stand for what is right. And I know that means I will also keep being a target for bullying. But at the end of the day, I’ll feel good about me.
If you are being bullied, you are not alone, and there many ways you can get help and support. Please don’t suffer in silence. Talk to a family member, friend, someone at church, at school… someone. Among the many places you can find additional help is by visiting https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/get-help-now. If your situation escalates and you fear for your safety, please call your local law enforcement. Bullies are everywhere, but so are those who can help their targets.
Written and submitted by Amy Randall-McSorley for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.