We reached out to teenage anti-bully crusader Rebecca Parkin, from England, to write a piece for us on her experiences and to talk to a few adults about the subject. Here is her article:
Living in a society is very hard for everyone. However sometimes people take being ‘normal’ too seriously and bully or harass those who are different or unique. My mission in life is to make my community and those around me bully-free. Not only do I want to create this positive atmosphere around me; I want to inspire people from all walks of life from all over the world. When I was younger I was always the odd girl out. Everyone fit into these cliques, except me. I was the outsider, the one that didn’t fit in, but stood out.
I spoke to several people about their thoughts on Bullying.
- David Nicholson, a youth patron for Ambitious about Autism said; “from personal experience, bullying can have a detrimental impact on mental health, confidence and self-esteem. I was bullied at school and it made me lose confidence. I wasn’t happy. Bullying is unacceptable and we need to stamp it out.” David was different from the other pupils at his school and they used that against him. Nobody deserves to get bullied, not now not ever.
- Claire Ryan, a parent patron for Ambitious about Autism said; “Talk to someone, get help and support as soon as possible. You don’t have to deal with it alone.” I totally agree here, victims of bullying really need to speak out. Never hide what’s happening even if a bully has threatened you if you do tell anybody; the bully is only saying this because they are scared that others will find out what they are doing, and honestly it is very shameful.
- Eva Firios, a talent agent and actress from Colorado said “It’s really bad here and the parents of the child who is the bully don’t care and they stand up for their child, saying it his or her right to do so.” This was one statement that I found most disheartening. How some parents agree to let their child continue this awful and damaging behaviour is beyond me. Parents need to understand what’s actually happening because of bullying: there’s more suicides, more depression…what happened to loving each other and compassion?
- Michael Hering, CEO and President of LodoCinema, during a conversation I had with him about bullying, told me, “One of the biggest problems about bullying is that it causes a decrease in the quality of life by both parties. Bullying is an act of hate — plain and simple. I think the issue goes further than the obstruction of a happy healthy mental attitude of the individual getting bullied. The real issue is the culture and society the bully is influenced by. If we can unlock the root causes that create the need to bully, we can begin to make steps towards a better society.” This is true. We need to educate our children to love one another and show compassion. Parents need to take responsibility too,.If a child is being hateful you need to find out why. Have they learnt it from you? Is something negative happening in their lives they need help with? Are they depressed? All things that need investigating.
I was a victim of bullying, I have Autism and I was labelled the “weird” or “strange” girl in school. I may have been different in some ways, but I still wanted the same things from life; love, happiness and compassion. Because of my Autism I found it extremely difficult to socialise with others my age, as my brain worked in a slightly different way from my peers.
During my younger years I constantly moved schools due to lack of understanding from the educators and my peers. I went to five primary schools and I’ve been to two high schools. At my old high school, teachers would mock me in class in front of other pupils who bullied and harassed me outside of the classroom. There were young people who threatened me online and physically beat me up in school because they wanted to ‘show off’ and look good in front of their friends. I had no friends. I had nobody to turn to during these times.
However I had one supportive teacher who I still have to thank today for helping me during those years. I wouldn’t have made it without her. She spoke to the people who were bullying me because my head of year [in Britain, the teacher in charge of all the students in a particular year in school].didn’t do anything. She was like a friend, someone who cared about me. There was a time when I was afraid of being in school, unaware of what could happen. There were days when I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to continue fighting.
The other thing that helped me through was my faith in God. I turned to my religion when I needed help. I prayed and prayed and God answered and he guided me through this life and that’s the reason I’m here today. I have to say that Demi Lovato, my idol was also a major contributing factor to the reason I began to fight — the reason I wanted to follow my heart and show that I have a lot to offer and I’m not just that girl who’s kind of weird and different, but I’m a girl who can change, inspire and influence other people’s lives.
I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to say that I finally made it, it took a while but I’m through the other side and I can’t wait to continue on my journey.
I want every single young boy or girl who’s currently a victim of bullying to know that one day you will make your mark on this world and everyone will follow your footsteps, because you’re the ones that stand out, the ones people are envious and curious about. Just believe and let your heart go wild and never ever stop dreaming!
I’m 16 years old and I’m an Anti-bullying Activist, I was bullied when I was younger and this is a subject I am very passionate about, I want to help young people understand and realize there is nothing to be ashamed of and things do get better. I’m a Young Journalist for ChildLine, I write their column in First News. I am a Youth Patron for Ambitious About Autism and I represent the charity internally and externally. I am a member of Rotherham’s Youth Cabinet representing young people’s voice in our community.
I do singing, acting and public speaking in my spare time. I love to express myself using the voice I’ve been blessed with.
You can find me on: