Anti-bullying Week: Fighting the Statistics with Love

Last week was anti-bullying week 


Mia joins in Lindsy Atkins' @liliesarelike anti-bullying week campaign
with a hand-crafted poster

Have you ever been bullied? 

I have.

Apart from the online trolls that cross my path every once in a while, I remember a more traditional bout of bullying only too well, even though it happened around 40 years ago. 

Being followed home from school on a daily basis, the group of boys 2 paces from my heels, calling out details of my physical appearance that they apparently found hilarious. I couldn't shake them. There was no escape before reaching my front door... that is until the day Mum followed us all and witnessed for herself what I had been enduring. It all stopped after that.

So when antibullying week came around I was only too happy to get involved in any way I could. 
Bullying destroys confidence, it destroys souls, it destroys lives. 

The statistics published state that someone with a learning disability is far more likely to experience bullying. See article by Tania Tirraoro over at Special Needs Jungle on the subject. 

Mencap employee Ciara, cousin of U2's The Edge experienced terrible bullying during her school years. Here The Edge talks about the impact it had on her and how she found a way out. 

U2's The Edge talks about his cousin Ciara's experience as part of anti-bullying week

Stories like this bore into my soul as the mum of two girls, one of whom has Down's syndrome. We have never once experienced bullying, we live in a small close-knit community, everyone accepts everyone else as just being who they are. But what does the future hold? What happens as we move through the school years? What will happen when they gain more independence and we parents are not always at their shoulder? Will the sibling's be easy targets too?

I hope not if we tackle these issues and give our children the tools they need to overcome bullying if it does happen.

Free 2 Luv, a not for profit ant-bullying group, launched a campaign urging young people to stop bullying at source with the slogan Friends Don't let Friends Bully. Here are our girls doing their bit to spread this important message.

Friends don't let friends bully: An anti-bullying week campaign by Free 2 Luv

Lindsay Atkins, YouTuber extraordinaire, asked us all to join in with the slogan Let's Stop Bullying for all! She has compiled an incredible video of support. Watch it here.

Maddie Sinclair who writes at Gammon and Chips fights for tighter online safety in the wake of the loss of a bullied young woman in her life. You can support her work for Izzy Dix here.

Angela Kelly wrote this important post over on Special Needs Jungle about supporting your child with SEN through a more subtle forms of bullying

The Anti Bullying Alliance has produced a set of resources for parents and young people experiencing bullying which might enable them to talk more easily about their experiences.

You might also like to read a post about the work Victim Support are doing to halt Disablist Hate Crime here. 

So, be alert for bullying, talk openly about your experiences and stamp out behaviour that harms today! 

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