One of the biggest lies told in schools is that they “do not tolerate bullying”.
Now, if you have had a child in school at any point then you will know what utter BS this is. They have anti bullying policies that are more often than not, hardly worth the paper they’re written on and with technology advances it makes it even easier for bullies to target others and more and more young people are becoming victims of bullying every single day.
Ages for mental health related hospital admissions are getting younger and younger with primary school aged children committing suicide because that’s how serious bullying is; it kills.
Bullying and it’s effects are something I have not only experienced myself but also as a Mother. If you’ve read my blog for a while you may remember the post I wrote about Eloise’s experience with bullying. If there is one thing I am always game to get on board with and that’s anti bullying campaigns that fight against the bullies and empower victims of bullying to stand up for themselves and heal.
What are the effects of bullying?
Here, some of the parents and children involved with This Is Me, explain in their own words their experiences and the effect bullying has had on them physically and mentally. I challenge you to sit through this video without crying. It is absolutely awful what some of these kids have been through. This should not be happening to our children.
Who are This Is Me?
This Is Me is a charity based in Coventry, run by a fantastic lady called Harriett who steps in and picks up the pieces by supporting young people affected by bullying through running workshops to help them to rebuild their confidence and self esteem.
Harriett originally approached schools offering her help, free of charge, to support pupils who had experienced bullying only to be told the biggest lie schools make and that is “there is no bullying”. This is a common response from schools who bury their heads in the sand and allow children to continue suffering to preserve their OFSED rating, putting percentages and scores above the wellbeing of the children in the their care. This is something that happens all too often and so, so many children are being let down. My daughter Eloise, included.
Eloise suffered months of physical and emotional abuse at her first school, coming home with bruises and nail marks almost daily, broken clothes, etc. She even received a death threat from the bully but yet the school she attended claimed this “wasn’t classed as bullying”, despite it going on for 7 months. We pulled her out after the headmaster suggested that she should become resilient to death threats. Eloise was 5 years old at the time. Children should be concerned about what time their favourite TV show is on or who’s birthday party it is next. Not worrying whether or not they’re going to get bullied today.
We moved her to a new school which improved things for a short while, she began enjoying school again for a while but the damage had already been done. We now home educate and the change in her has been magnificent.
This Is Me was launched in October 2017 after Harriett had not only experienced first hand the effect of bullying endured by her son who now suffers from anxiety as a result but also felt the effects when somebody close to her committed suicide due bullying at only 15 years old. This awful tragedy drove Harriett to take the first steps into the creation of this charity by holding a pamper day for children effected by bullying.
She has since supported 30 children aged 10-16 from 25 different schools to overcome the negative effects of bullying. The workshops include teaching the children internet safety, as well as employable skills such as hair and make up including zombie special effects. They also have access to additional outside resources to help the children understand and improve their mental health, with talk therapy at the end of the day to encourage them to share their experiences from the previous week, and help work over any worries they may have, giving them confidence and support to speak out against the bullies.
As well as workshops This Is Me organise days out for the children to help them develop their friendships within the group and boost their confidence mixing with peers. The activities so far have ranged from visiting restaurants, laser quest, cinema visits, dance lessons, watching the Britains Got Talent auditions even meeting Alesha Dixon at the Coventry Light Switch On!
The first group of children have not long completed their very own fashion show organised by Harriett and featuring acts such as Pippa & Buddy – BGT 2011 semi finalist, UnScripted – a local boy band, Alex Norman – acoustic guitarist hosted by Free Radio presenter John JD Dalziel! Harriett organised this amazing show giving the children such a fantastic opportunity to stand up against the bullies who have made their lives hell, regain their confidence and say “this is me!”.
Some quotes from the children…
“This course has been one of the best opportunities because I’m around people who have been through the same stuff that I’ve been through. I’ve made so many friends”
“I feel more comfortable going out without my make up on, I never used to leave the house without a full face of make up on. I used to spend 20 minutes on my eyebrows, it’s completely different now”
“I’ve enjoyed the course because I’ve made so many friends and I know that I can be myself because other girls have been through the same as I have”
“I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and it’s brought me out a lot with my self esteem and anxiety”
“The course has really helped me because I can do what I want to do, and go out wearing make up when I couldn’t before”
It’s these sorts of organisations that save lives.