Let’s set a resolution to stand up to bullies.
Have you ever been bullied in your life? If so, I want to tell you that you are amazing. Because you have survived something that not everyone has experienced. And as a result, you have a strength that other people don’t have.
I was bullied at school from the age of 8 to 9. Three boys in my class kicked me every day. My shins were always black and blue. They would also take my satchel and throw it between themselves so that I couldn’t get it. This gave me a sense of powerlessness. They called me names such as “Maid Ugly” and “Quiche Lorraine” (my surname was Keith). A girl in my class told me she was scared to be friends with me because she didn’t want to get hit. The boys I had been friends with the previous year (when I was the only girl in my class) kept quiet. So my only friends were in the year below, which meant we were never in class together.
Fast forward a few years to when I had boyfriends. They were all different but they had one thing in common: they were manipulative. And I had no idea how to deal with it. I hardly even knew it was not healthy! Can you relate to any of this?
While I lived and worked in the UK as an adult, I was unaware of any sexism towards me. Maybe because I worked in media type organisations. The men were probably more in touch with their feminine sides than men in the ‘traditional’ professions.
Once I moved to the multicultural Caribbean island where I live, I noticed a huge difference. The men I have come across, particularly in church, definitely treat me as less than them because I’m a woman. I find the same thing in FaceBook groups. Some talk down to me and have denied me opportunities. Others give me unwanted attention, including touching, which is not respectful to the fact that I have a choice. So many women go through experiences like this every day!
Thankfully in many countries and cities, there is much more equality nowadays. But there is still work to do.
We cannot force people to change their attitudes. But we can start with ourselves. If someone is disrespecting you, you can state your truth and walk away. It is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. If something does not feel safe, you do not have to put yourself through it, because you are worthy of respect. You always have a choice.
If you are a woman* who has been bullied, you might be interested in my Stand Up! webinar. Or if you know any women who have been bullied, please pass on the information. Together we are stronger to stand up to bullies.
(*Men who have been bullied, let me know if you are interested in a webinar for men.)