The Dreaded B Word #BullyingAwarenessWeek

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Bullying is the one thing that terrifies me to my core as a parent, probably because it’s a subject matter very close to my heart. I went to eight different schools when I was growing up, and suffered quite bad bullying at the last two I attended. More so than the name calling, spitting and low level violence, one very vivid memory sticks in my head. Of me at 14 crying my eyes out and desperate for a hug with outstretched arms – all my ‘friends’ standing in a circle with their arms folded tightly to their chests. It makes me shudder. If I think hard enough I can remember how worthless I was made to feel.

I’ve written before about my dysfunctional upbringing, and I suppose it made me an easy target for bullies. I got myself into all sorts of scrapes as a young adult too, because I had very little self esteem. As outgoing and confident as I’ve always been, I had zero respect for myself until my early twenties when I went through counselling. I’d had two suicide attempts by the age of 16, but came through the darkness and am here telling the tale. A good friend of mine who also had a difficult childhood often says that I’m the most normal person she knows. This may be an insult to some, but it’s a compliment of the highest order for me.

The world now is much tougher than the one I grew up in though. The ugly side of social medial is enough to drive most of us to despair, let alone fragile teens. I honestly cannot see the point of ask.fm, and have signed the petition calling for it to be closed down. It currently has just over 11,000 signatures, but needs 100,000. Something needs to be done before more children take their own lives. Will you sign?

Update: I’m sharing this post again on the 17th November 2014 for National Bullying Awareness Week. I’m thrilled that the petition was a success. You can read all about it here over on the lovely Maddie’s blog Gammon and Chips.

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30 Replies to “The Dreaded B Word #BullyingAwarenessWeek”

  1. Thank you! Sorry to hear you suffered too xx

  2. I experienced bullying too, it’s ugly and destroying. Thanks for sharing the petition, I’ve signed it! Sx

  3. I was so chuffed for your success Maddie. At least something positive has come from such a tragedy. Much love back at ya xxx

  4. Thanks so much for including an update re our petition – I still can’t quite believe that it worked!!!! Thrilled! And thanks so much for supporting Anti-Bullying Week again this year. Increased awareness surrounding this issue can only be a good thing. You’re an absolute star!!! Sending love. xoxo

  5. Thank you. Nice to ‘meet you’…

  6. Thank you very much! I’ll check yours out too 🙂

  7. When I get more than 5 minutes, I’ll be intrigued to read more about your experiences. You’ve got a new follower and I’m looking forward to delving deeper. Thanks.

  8. Truly terrifying! Hopefully with more awareness in schools and if parents take it more seriously, things will change. This is a great campaign to get behind…

  9. Thanks Izzie. Bullying is such a nasty, awful part of so many people’s lives, and the cyber aspect makes it constant, which is the most troubling part. Sounds like you do some great work, hope the kids you see can get past it and put it all behind them one day xx

  10. Thanks Cathie, that’s really kind. I am so far removed from it all now, but situations like this trigger memories and if I can help the campaign at all I have to try xx

  11. Thanks for signing my lovely xx

  12. my lovely i am so sad you went through this ..i have signed the petition and i only hope it helps someone. xx

  13. Great post hun. I always think how brave you are when you talk about your past and so great that you are using it for something so worthwhile such as this cause. #pocolo

  14. Thanks for sharing this difficult story. Can’t have been an easy post to write x
    I volunteer for a local children’s charity mentoring teens once a week and sadly, I’ve come across bullying many times. Izzy’s story is so heart-breaking and it’s important that this is shared. #PoCoLo

  15. Thank you so much for writing this post and sharing Izzys post – the more people who know about this, the better. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

  16. It is such a nightmare of mine – to even imagine that my wee boy could be a victim of bullies one day.. It is so important to be raising awareness around it. A brave post!

  17. It really is terrifying! In a way I’m so pleased my kids are younger, but am dreading to think what it will be like in 10 years time 🙁 Part of me thinks it has to go backwards because it surely can’t get any worse?

  18. It is a real fear of mine too, I cannot stand the thought of my children being bullied, it terrifies me. I was never seriously bullied (although, any level is serious as it stays with you), but ‘teased’ enough to make some days very difficult. The ease, and variety of means, that children can now be bullied via social media is truly scary. #PoCoLo

  19. Thanks for signing hon, sorry to have you in tears! xx

  20. I’ve just signed, lovely. That memory that you’ve shared had me close to tears. I was fortunate enough to never be bullied, but I dread the thought of it happening to my kids. Thanks for writing this post x

  21. Thanks Tas, every signature helps 🙂 And thank you for your lovely comment – I feel very far removed from it now, but as I said in the post can remember it like it was yesterday if I think hard enough. I can only hope my own children will never have to suffer like I did.

  22. It is truly my biggest worry as a parent. Bullying has always been an issue, but cyber bullying takes it to a whole new level. We can only hope that things do an about turn in the next few years, before any more teens take their lives.

  23. It’s a real worry to me for the future, this sort of cyber bullying. I’m not sure about being closed down because I’m just concerned that the same sort of thing will happen elsewhere. The anonymous aspect is worrying though and at the very least that needs to be changed right now.

  24. Ask.com sounds like a bit of a minefield with the potential to do a lot of harm. You’ve been on such a journey, so good to read how you came out of it the other side. I will definitely sign it.

  25. I’ll be following the campaign closely Maddie, it’s a wonderful thing that you’re doing. Please let me know if I can help in any way xx

  26. Thanks so much Denise, totally agree with what you’ve said. The saddest thing about this young lady is that she did have the support network, but bullies still got the better of her.

  27. I know what you mean Denise. Our Love For Izzy Dix campaign is really about making people aware of how potentially harmful this site can be. I used to be on the side of ‘freedom of speech’ but I have changed my mind after what happened to Izzy. The difference with Ask.fm is that the majority of its users are under 18 and it’s the anonymous feature which makes it a platform for bullying – I have no doubt that some users go on there with the specific aim of spreading hate and nastiness as a form of fun. There are many more facets to our Love For Izzy Dix campaign than just Ask.fm. What we ultimately want to achieve is ‘self discipline’ for young people – like you say, we want to spread the word about how potentially dangerous this site can be so that the teens themselves choose not to partake in it because they know it promotes bullying. But getting young people to that point is a long-term goal – on top of awareness it also takes education, support, confidence and time – as a group we intend to undertake programmes which will help with these things with our ‘schools strategy’ which is currently in development.

    There are restrictions on all sorts of things for under 18s for their own safety, from the fact that they can’t legally buy alcohol or access pornography, to the fact that they can’t see certain films at the cinema, or can’t sit in the front seat of the car until they are a certain age. As far as I’m concerned, restrictions on these sorts of potentially harmful sites for young people is a good thing. Thanks so much for signing – we all really appreciate it! Maddie from Love For Izzy Dix

  28. I’m not normally into censorship. In general I believe that we need to empower young people to walk away from these sites and not take part in them.

    Having said that, there is just no need for sites like Ask.com. Not every young person has the support and security to say No to the pressure there is to take part. And these are our vulnerable young people that we have to protect. So I have gone and signed.

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