Tag Archives: bullying

Bullying destroys lives and needs to be stopped – we all have a role in that

Every year in Anti-Bullying Week, I share a post I wrote five years ago where I wrote about the hell of my secondary school years and the very long shadow bullying cast on my life. It may be lazy to share the same post year on year, but even 30 years on, I don’t want to put myself through writing it again.

During the first three years of high school, I was primarily known by two names, neither of which had been given to me by my parents. In English one day in first year, we were taking it in turns to read out a scene from a play. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what it was but as fate would have it, the line I had to read was “I want a yak.” Quick as a flash, the boy in front of me yelled out “I always thought you were one……” Cue the entire class, including the teacher, to collapse in laughter. That spread like wildfire, and before long it became my name to the entire pupil body.

If we’d had Google images then, I might have discovered pretty quickly that yaks are really kind of cute, but I never really saw it that way at the time and I really don’t think that the name was an affectionate one.

The other name came from the fact that, yes, I do have weird eyes. For that reason, people would hiss like a cat when they saw me coming, and spit out “Cat’s Eyes” as I passed.

I’m sure that doesn’t sound like much, but when you hear one or other of those things round every corner every day, you do feel less than human.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Sal Brinton as you have never seen her before

As schools went back last week, Party President Sal Brinton did lots of work on anti-bullying strategies at the start of term.

She gave some words of wisdom, and an old school photo, to Anti-Bullying pro:

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Opinion: Mental health – is prevention a potential solution?

Just as public health experts develop strategies to tackle binge drinking, smoking and obesity, do we need to develop a more comprehensive approach to preventing mental ill health? With youth depression, alone, having doubled in the last 20 years, maybe it’s time to look again at ways to prevent mental health problems from taking their toll at different stages in our lives. It’s complicated, but here are just some thoughts on what might help.

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Cleaning up politics is about more than money

When we talk about cleaning up politics, we generally mean party funding and lobbying. There is so much more that needs to be done, though with regards to the environment in which politics is conducted.

Every week when Parliament is sitting we see the childish scenes at PMQs. We’ve had our own Julian Huppert talk about how it feels to be on the receiving end of bullying and intimidating behaviour.

The tone of debate on social media often leaves a lot to be desired, especially if you happen to be a woman in possession of an opinion. The cumulative effect of constantly being told you are evil/stupid/treacherous or being threatened  is not insignificant. I recently had a bit of a wobble after months of bombardment from cybernats, UKIP types and, even more distressingly, a small number of fellow Liberal Democrats. However much you try to ignore it, it can get overwhelming at times. I don’t have a problem with actual calm and rational debate but every single day, people cross the line into abuse and that’s just not on. I was livid with myself for getting so upset. After all, in large parts of the world, simply finding somewhere private to go to the toilet entails taking your life in your hands if you happen to be female, so it felt very trivial to almost reduced to tears by a jibe from some stranger whose good opinion mattered to me not one jot. It was utterly ridiculous, but it happened nonetheless. Of course, this is the sort of reaction these bullies want and, given that I intend to continue inflicting my views on the world, I just needed to find a way of dealing with it which mostly involved the support of good people who know who they are.  It shouldn’t be like that, though.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: Tackling homophobic bullying in schools

Gay teen supporters of Stonewall and its campaign against homophobic bullying in schools, celebrating London's Gay Pride. July 2009 - Some rights reserved by lewishamdreamerLiberal Democrat colleagues may remember that one of Liberal Youth’s big campaigns was to stop homophobic bullying.

As the former Liberal Youth Chair in Northamptonshire it was a campaign that is very close to my heart. Too many LGBT young people are subjected to terrible abuse and bullying – just because of who they are.

When I was elected to the County Council in 2009 I wanted to do

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Opinion: Why we need to tackle homophobic bullying now

In recent years, Liberal Democrats have been political frontrunners in identifying ways to tackle the insidious issue of homophobic bullying in our schools. In a 2010 interview with Attitude, Nick Clegg called for all schools – including faith schools – to implement anti-homophobia bullying policies and teach that homosexuality is “normal and harmless”. Our 2010 manifesto said that we would “confront bullying, including homophobic bullying, and include bullying prevention in teacher training”,

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 11 Comments
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