Bringing the Bullies Down: The Bully Project

Photo: themarysue.com

Jennifer Evanick

Staff Writer

 

The Documentary, Bully, came to theaters on March 30. The Bully Project emphasizes solutions, direct urgent needs, and leads to systemic change. The new documentary film is directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch. The Bully Project captures audience awareness and brings it to action with a sequence of tools and programs supported by regional and national partners. The film helps the audience to see that in order for society to achieve real change about the state of bullying in America, kids, parents, school staff, community leaders, and legislators must all come together to help find solutions.

 

Over 30 million children will be bullied this year. Bullying is, therefore, the most common form of violence encountered by young Americans. The Bully Project is a joint effort that brings together partner organizations which share a commitment to stop bullying.

 

Bullying is a prevalent and severe problem that can happen anywhere.  There are many myths about bullying. First, it is not a phase that children have to go through and second, it is not something we just grow out of.  Bullying can produce serious and long-lasting harm.

 

Definitions of bullying vary, but most experts agree that bullying includes an imbalance of power where people who bully use their power to control or harm, and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves. It also comprises of intent to cause harm, as well as repetition where incidents of bullying happen to the same person continually by the same person or group.

 

Bullying can also take a variety forms including verbal (such as name calling), social (such as spreading rumors), physical, and more recently, cyber bullying where using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to harm others.

 

Bullying regularly does not occur in an isolated setting with a single oppressor and victim. There may be numerous bullies or several victims, and there are nearly always peers, adults, and other community members who know about the bullying taking place.

 

More often than not, the sufferers of bullying are socially at risk because they have some attribute that makes them dissimilar from the majority. An individual might be chosen because of his or her appearance, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation.  Young individuals with learning disabilities are also targeted more frequently. However, at times, there are no evident characteristics that instigate the bullying. No matter the situation, the individual being bullied does not know how to make the bullying stop or not have the power to make it stop.

 

Bullying does distress the whole family. When children are constantly being targeted, they suffer feelings of powerlessness and depression. In this case, their parents often feel some of those same emotions of frustration and helplessness in their desire to protect their children. Parents may feel like school officials are not taking them seriously and feel disliked as they ask for more to be done.

 

Bullying today does not just take place at school, but it can happen anywhere like the streets of our towns, in our homes, at extracurricular activities, at camp, and online. Community awareness about bullying needs to be put into action. This movie confirms that something needs to be done.

 

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