Thursday, 6 February 2014

Teasing and bullying.

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I often don’t write about things that make my blood boil or things that upset me. I take all that out on Mr. Lucky, and I pity my keyboard. It has already lost the TAB button and I don’t think I could bear it if I lost any other key.

Being in Greece for some time now I have seen shops close, people lose their jobs, and homes. The Greek financial crisis has created a fear that has dented Greece’s normally euphoric,’ live and love life to the fullest ‘state of being.

There is a growing divide between those who have, and those who have not.

We were in a taverna the other day. A young man came in selling candles. Nobody bought any. He left looking devastated, desperate and lost. 

After lunch, we walked to a children’s play cafe to let Little Miss run around. While we sat there, the same young man came in this time without his bag of candles and asked the proprietor for work. 

Without even looking at him, the proprietor asked him to leave.  As he escorted him towards the door, the proprietor noticed me watching the exchange. The proprietor began pulling faces and imitated the young man's walk. I couldn't believe it.

Here was a desperate young man searching for work, being teased.  I was too shocked to say or do anything.  A few days on, I still feel sick when I think about it.  

The only saving grace is that the young man didn't see what was going on behind his back. He looked so desperate and devastated at being turned away that I shudder to think of the consequences had he realised what was going on.

I grew up in a country town. Being a minority we were like hurricane chasers. We would chase after any Greek gathering within 200 km of our town  just so see, hear, eat and absorb all things Greek.

We went to a Greek dance. I was 9. My parent’s friend’s son, let’s called him Mr. NOT Darcy was being courted by all family members for my cousin. As law student, he was a sound marriage prospect a nearly educated man demanding respect.

Well, he teased me about my big brown eyes. Not in an endearing or flattering way.  Mr. NOT. Darcy was cruel. He was outright nasty.  The other kids my age heard him, and started to tease me. This continued at each gathering. I hated it.

Whenever I saw Mr. NOT Darcy, I put my big brown eyes to use by glaring at him with contempt OR I ignored him. Blatantly. It was uncomfortably noticeable to all that I did not like him. 

Thankfully he didn't marry my cousin. She married a nice, well... lawyer.

When I was about 18 I bumped into him, and to my absolute surprise, he apologised.  I was gob smacked. I swallowed my surprise and simply said, ‘It’s too late, I don’t accept your apology’. 

I have not seen him since but have often wondered if my refusal to accept his apology made a difference to him. It certainly didn't make a difference to me. 

Bullying and teasing affects a victim’s decision making, their confidence, and their sense of self. It impacts how and when a victim makes friends, how one enters a room, walks down the street, meets people. It affects how a victim relates to people. The list goes on.

As an adult I have revisited key moments in my life where my behavior and reactions to situations and people have been less than ideal. I have questioned (but not excused) whether the teasing / bullying was in any way responsible 

Of course education is key.  Cafe proprietors, adults, employers and leader’s must stop being bully’s. Even the most subtle kind of teasing can cause serious damage. These individuals in positions of power, authority should know better. They need to be made accountable.  

But there is more. Victims need support, guidance and direction so that they can turn that damage into something positive.  If a victim survives the bullying they need time to heal. But it’s important to ensure their wounds heal in the right way, so that the bullying ends with them, and that they do not become a bully themselves.

Can you imagine what further damage the teasing would have done to this poor desperate boy had he realised what was going on behind his back?

This blog forms part of Lisa Lintern's blog a day challenge. Visit Melodramatic Me.

Follow me: @mummyfried

Image "Loud Hailer Character Shows Shouting Yelling And Bullying" by Stuart Miles /FreeDigitalPhotos.net


2 comments:

  1. Awesome post my friend. So, so glad you signed up to this writing thing. xo

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  2. Thanks Lisa. Bit heavy for blog number 29, and thought twice about uploading but here it is. xxx

    ReplyDelete